National Forest Foundation

7 Things to Know When Cutting Your National Forest Christmas Tree

Trees, Hiking and Backpacking

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For many families, cutting down a Christmas tree from their backyard National Forest is a wonderful holiday tradition. Before you head out to the woods though, keep a few things in mind.

  • $5 or $10 permits are required for each tree cut from a National Forest. Permits are available at your local Forest Service district ranger office.
  • Check with your local Forest Service office to ensure your driving route is clear and passable.
  • Be sure your vehicle has the means to access your cutting site: high clearance, four wheel drive, snow tires and chains.
  • Attach the permit to the tree from the cutting site and do not remove until the tree is in your home.
  • Select a tree that is less than 12 feet tall.
  • Look for a tree in an overcrowded stand to help thin the area.
  • When cutting your tree, leave less than a 5” inch stump. Do not cut the tops out of trees.

Learn more in the Forest Service video below.

Contact your local NFS office for permits and regulations for the National Forest near you.

Want to support the next generation of Christmas trees on our National Forests?


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