Post-Thanksgiving holiday madness is in full swing and if you’re looking for a Christmas tree, officials in Marin County have come up with a program to rid an open space preserve of an unwanted and invasive species: the pine tree. The tree-cutting program will launch this weekend and since the county wants to clear the Ring Mountain Open Space Preserve of these pine trees, they are allowing locals to do the work for them. Anyone will be allowed to chop down their own tree on the preserve for free in what is being called the "holiday habitat restoration event.” But before you grab an ax or saw, it’s worth noting the wild Monterey pines certainly don’t look like traditional Christmas trees; nevertheless, officials point out they are free, unique, and the experience of chopping down one’s own tree can be memorable. Marin County Parks Director Linda Dahl commented the following on the event:
“Because pine trees are invading the preserve and threatening native habitats, this event will serve as both an important restoration project as well as a fun holiday event for the whole family … [the tree-cutting event] will allow access to areas of the preserve normally off-limits to the public. These trees have been growing in the wild, not in a Christmas tree lot, and therefore come in all shapes and sizes.”
The invasive pines are reportedly a problem because they are a threat to the local ecosystem that provides a habitat for some of the rarest plants in the world, including the Tiburon mariposa lily, which occurs nowhere else on earth.