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Phoenix parks panel recommends prohibiting recent Christmas tree tradition on Camelback Mountain

Posted at 9:25 PM, May 22, 2017

Camelback Santa and his elves were dealt a big blow at Monday night's meeting of the Phoenix Parks and Recreation advisory committee.

The committee voted to stick with city rules that outlaw leaving things behind in parks and on trails--that means no holiday tree this December, although the decision isn't final just yet.

The city cited a number of issues, including litter around the tree. Last December, park rangers even documented someone placing a cigarette butt on the tree, a potential fire hazard. Despite the efforts of volunteers, city officials said those same park rangers were forced to maintain the tree, which is not in their list of responsibilities.

RELATED: The story behind the Christmas tree on Camelback Mountain

"We have an obligation to maintain the natural state [of parks] and that's what it comes down to," explained Gregg Bach with the City of Phoenix.

But Camelback Santa tells ABC15 the committee is being too strict. He tells us he was shocked by the news, but is hoping the city will have a change of heart, maybe even getting the city council or Mayor Greg Stanton involved.

"It's just a unique Christmas experience that puts people in the Valley in the holiday mood," he says. "I'm not going to give up. Even if it means I have to handcuff myself to a Christmas tree on top of Camelback this December, I'm going to do it."

Monday's vote isn't final just yet. The advisory committee will bring its recommendation to the Phoenix Parks and Recreation Board who will take it up for a formal vote later this year.