Time for one final holiday tradition: Recycling the Christmas tree | Metro

“We put them in several different lakes,” said Don Gerling, operations manager for St. Louis County Parks. “It’s really up to MDC to tell us which.”

This year, recycled trees from area homes will at least end up in the lake at Spanish Lake Park, according to St. Louis County officials. But Gerling said that MDC shifts distribution over time, picking from any of the 11 lakes in the county that the state agency helps manage.

Lake Lincoln in Cuivre River State Park, an hour northwest of St. Louis, is another place in the region where MDC says it will sink donated trees, to improve fishing opportunities. The agency says the submerged trees can “benefit some of the most popular fish that anglers like to pursue, including largemouth bass, bluegill, redear sunfish and crappie.”

(Christmas trees aren’t the only fodder for “artificial reefs” aiming to help fish. In some places, including the Great Lakes, rubble from demolished buildings can be used for the same purpose. As one prominent example, material from the former stadium of the Cleveland Browns and Cleveland Indians was dumped into Lake Erie, after its demolition in the 1990s.)

There are just a few simple requests and guidelines for people who contribute their trees to local recycling efforts. First, don’t bring in any artificial trees. And please remove any tinsel, lights or ornaments.

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