“Purchasing a permit and going into the forest to choose and cut a Christmas tree is a great and affordable opportunity to get outdoors and enjoy your national forest and public lands,” said acting Deputy Forest Supervisor Tracy Parker. “We encourage folks to have a great time and ask that they follow the rules for cutting the trees and stay on designated roads and trails with their motorized vehicles.”
Specific information and requirements should be obtained by contacting the ranger district office where individuals plan to harvest their tree. Information sheets will be provided with each permit. In general, a variety of tree species can be harvested across the forest, with some species restricted on some ranger districts; each tree must have a permit and the permit must be attached to the tree before leaving the site; and trees are not permitted to be cut in areas signed as closed, in or adjacent to campgrounds, roads, Wilderness, private land, active timber sales, tree planting areas and/or in and adjacent to riparian areas. Topping of larger trees is not permitted (e.g. cutting the top off a large tree) and stumps should be cut as close to the ground as possible, but no higher than six inches.
Because winter weather is variable, it is recommended that snowshoes or skis be used to access areas to cut trees and a sharp handsaw used to cut the trees. Wrapping the tree in an old blanket to prevent wind damage during transportation can also be helpful. Once the tree is home, cut the stump a second time to get a straight edge to install it in the stand and to allow the tree to absorb water. Make sure to keep water in the stand for safety and to help the tree remain fresh longer. A “fire minimizing” mixture can be prepared by mixing: two gallons of hot water, two cups of corn syrup, two ounces of liquid bleach, two pinches of Epsom salts, one-half teaspoon Borax, and one teaspoon of chelated iron (available at most garden shops).