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Cutting a Christmas Tree in a National Forest


Cutting a Christmas Tree in a National Forest

Doug Fir/Aspen Forest in Colorado

Photo by Steve Nix, Licensed to About.com
You can likely can find a Christmas tree on many National Forests into November and December but you must obtain a permit for a particular forest. Permits might be issued at times unique to the forest so start early on getting a permit.

You can get a permit at most National Forest headquarters. You will find your nearest National Forest by using my National Forest Finder. Also, every forest is a bit different but you can expect to have to follow a few simple rules:

Difficulty: Average
Time Required: Set aside a full day...

Here's How:

  1. Assume that you will be expected to pay for a permit. Not all forests charge but they all expect a visit to get permission to cut.
  2. All forests have cut and no cut areas as defined by the forest management plan. You must cut only in areas open for Christmas tree harvest.
  3. You will not be allowed to cut Christmas trees near roads, camps, trails and streams. Always stay within the defined cutting area.
  4. Trees must be tagged with the permit immediately.
  5. Remember, it is not the National forest's responsibility to either find a tree or guarantee a perfectly shaped tree. A permit does not assure you a suitable tree.


  1. Some National Forests issue permits weeks ahead of the harvest dates. Obtain your permits early.
  2. Some National Forests only allow cutting of Christmas trees if you are selected by lottery. Put your name on the list early.
  3. Use my National Forest Finder for your nearest National forest.

What You Need

  • Transportation. Auto or Truck depending on access.
  • Permit
  • Bow saw or chainsaw
  • Tie downs or trailer or both depending on the size of the tree.

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