The discovery of Christmas lights tangled in a deer’s antlers is one good reason not to decorate trees along city parks and trails.
Another good reason is it’s illegal.
The City of Red Deer is reminding residents that while ornaments, lights, tinsel and garlands look pretty and festive, they are a wildlife hazard, and the public facilities bylaw prohibits hanging them on public trees.
“While The City of Red Deer loves the enthusiasm from the community, these holiday decorations pose serious risks to wildlife and the environment, and the city is reminding residents not to decorate trees in public spaces,” states a municipal release.
A big concern is that festive Christmas decorations “take a long time to breakdown in the environment,” said Ken Lehman, ecological services operations co-ordinator with the city. Wildlife can be attracted to the shiny objects “and they can even ingest things.”
Lehman added,“Our crews have encountered bucks with lights tangled in their antlers,” so city staff spend a lot of time taking down what residents have hung on public trees.
The Parks and Public Facilities Bylaw No. 3255/2000 prohibits attaching items to trees and other public spaces for the protection of wildlife and pets.
Lehman said people’s pets have gotten paw injuries from stepping on broken ornaments that have blown off of or fallen from trees. “There’s always a risk with ornaments on private property as well, but these things occurring in public spaces has definitely exacerbated the concerns and increased the time and effort required of city staff to clean up these areas.”
Residents wishing to spread holiday joy are instead encouraged to consider donating to a local charity, helping a neighbour, or sharing their favourite holiday treats with friends or coworkers.
Decorations or other hazards attached to trees and in parks spaces can be reported to Parks and Public Works at 403-341-8238 or using the Report-A-Problem tool or at reddeer.ca/reportaproblem.