Camelback Holiday Tree

Committee says no to holiday tree on Camelback Mountain

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'Christmas Santa' petitioned for allowing a Christmas tree being up at Camelback Mountain. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) 'Christmas Santa' petitioned for allowing a Christmas tree being up at Camelback Mountain. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
The tree was left up on Camelback the day after Thanksgiving last year. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) The tree was left up on Camelback the day after Thanksgiving last year. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)

Last December trees were going up and down the mountain for days.

A group calling itself 'Christmas Santas' lugged a 15-foot Christmas tree up Camelback Mountain the day after Thanksgiving but 24 hours later it was gone. And the Grinch mystery began. Turns out the park rangers had removed it due to the city’s “leave no trace policy” that states no one can leave anything behind on the trails.

The group drafted a petition, collected 1,300 signatures within 48 hours, and began negotiations with the parks department. A short time later, they were able to put a tree back up, gathering ornaments that were environmentally friendly.

Since then, the group has been working to be exempt from the park’s policy. However, at a committee meeting Monday night their hope hit a big road block.

"Quite surprised, not the decision I was expecting at all," said Camelback Santa.

[RELATED: Valley grinch targets Camelback Christmas tree tradition; group not giving up]

"Unfortunately the committee decided to recommend Camelback Santa can't go up with the tree, very disappointing," said Justin Hurd.

The committee says the policy is "leave no trace" and that is the way it should stay.

"Which will prohibit this type of thing, to leave items behind on our preserved land," said Gregg Bach of Phoenix Parks and Recreations Department.

"They were interrupting the policy, I don't think they were being reasonable," said Camelback Santa.

[RELATED: Public hearing to be held on Camelback Christmas tree]

The parks department has had a problem the past couple of years with people building monuments for loved ones and religious symbols.

"We have an obligation for public safety as well as preserving those areas around the trail," said Bach.

"Don’t think they were listening to the will of the people, they were being a bunch of Grinches," said Camelback Santa.

Although no final decision has been made, Camelback Santa is not sure what steps he can take to convince the board to allow the tree.

[RELATED: Group gets OK to put a Christmas tree atop Phoenix mountain]

"A lot of people will be sad disappointed but let’s hope that doesn't happen," said Camelback Santa. 

Copyright 2017 KPHO/KTVK (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.

Ashlee DeMartinoAshlee DeMartino is excited to finally be back in her hometown of Phoenix.

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Ashlee DeMartino
Weekend Weather Anchor

An award-winning journalist, Ashlee has worn many hats in her career, one-woman-band, executive producer, anchor, reporter and morning traffic reporter. However, her main focus and passion is weather.

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Ashlee graduated from Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and is currently enrolled at Mississippi State University in the Geosciences program finishing her degree in Meteorology.

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