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Out and About: Head outdoors to find that perfect Christmas tree

The holidays are all about family traditions for many people and perhaps one of the best traditions is finding that Christmas tree.
Christmas Tree Lolo NF
Posted at 10:33 AM, Dec 08, 2023

MISSOULA — The holidays are all about family traditions for many people and perhaps one of the best traditions is finding that Christmas tree.

The process of finding a tree on U.S. Forest Service lands is quite easy.

Start by heading to https://www.recreation.gov/, then find your nearby national forest and buy your permit.

There are a few rules people need to follow when chopping down that perfect tree and they are listed on the permit.

Tips for people heading out to cut their Christmas trees:

  • Be aware of changing weather as well as road and snow conditions
  • Carry the right gear like a map and cold weather attire
  • Bring the right tools: a handsaw for cutting the tree and a shovel for removing snow around the base of the tree

Regulations for cutting Christmas trees:

  • Display permits on the dashboard of your vehicle when you go out to harvest the tree(s). It is your responsibility to know where you can and cannot harvest Christmas trees, and to follow all permit requirements.
  • Cutting is not allowed in restricted areas such as developed recreation sites and campgrounds, existing timber sale areas or previously thinned areas.   
  • Do not leave branches on the stump and trim the stump to no more than five inches above the soil. Do not cut the tops off trees and do not cut down trees taller than 12 feet.
  • Do not cut trees within 150 feet of riparian areas (creeks or streams) or within Wilderness Areas.