While the Christmas tree hunters found a skiff of snow in a shaded area along the edge of the former surface mine where they cut their trees, access roads to the cutting area were snow-free last week.
"Usually, there's snow and ice on the road to the parking area, and you might have to walk up to a half-mile to get there," Cimarolli said.
Nature Conservancy State Director Rodney Bartgis and his wife cut their tree earlier in the week near the same location, but under more Yule-like conditions.
"We like to cut our trees when there's snow on the ground," Bartgis said. "There was an inch or two of snow when we got our tree, and we probably walked a half-mile before finding the one we wanted and dragging it back to the car. It's a much-appreciated tree."
Bartgis also chose a red spruce.
"I like its nice deep-green color, and the fact that its needles are prickly enough to keep our cat off the tree," he said.
While the Monongahela National Forest has allowed Christmas tree cutting at select sites for a number of years, it's an activity that hasn't caught on in a big way.
As of Thursday, only 26 permits had been issued so far this season.
Reach Rick Steelhammer at rsteelham...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5169.