USDA Forest Service Christmas Tree Permits Available Online through Recreation.gov
“Venturing into a local national forest to find that special tree is an experience that creates treasured family memories and stories,” said USDA Forest Service Chief Randy Moore. “It is through these experiences that people establish important connections to the forest that can lead to a lifetime of adventures and instill a commitment to stewardship.”
Marcina B. expressed their gratitude when visiting the Tahoe National Forest in California: “Our family loves getting Christmas tree permits and cutting down our own tree. Thank you for making this possible and allowing me and my family some unforgettable memories.”
Recreation.gov makes it easy to purchase a permit. “Visitor feedback has been extremely positive,” said Rick DeLappe, Recreation.gov Program Manager. “Of the nearly 1,200 ratings submitted by those who purchased permits on Recreation.gov during the 2022 season, 90 percent gave 4 or 5-stars ratings of their experience.”
This comment was from a visitor to the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest in Arizona:
Instead of visiting a Forest Service office in person, visitors can go to Recreation.gov and search for their local national forest. Once on Recreation.gov, national forests provide important details, like cutting area maps, types of trees to cut and important planning tips on their respective permit pages.
“It is important to remember that visitors will need to print the permit and display it on the dash of their vehicle on the day of their visit to cut their trees,” said DeLappe. Also keep in mind that many national forests may continue to sell permits in person or through local vendors.
Fourth graders with an Every Kid Outdoors pass are eligible for a free Christmas tree permit and can apply by entering the pass or voucher number when purchasing a permit. Kids of all ages can download, color, and decorate their tree with this Christmas tree ornament coloring page for a fun, handmade addition to their tree.
Cutting a Christmas tree improves forest health. The permit system helps to thin densely populated stands of small-diameter trees. Local forest health experts identify areas that benefit from thinning trees and tend to be the perfect size for Christmas trees. Removing these trees in designated areas helps other trees grow larger and can open areas that provide food for wildlife.
- Recreation.gov Christmas Tree Permit page with map interface
- Help Center article “How Do I Purchase and Print a Christmas Tree Permit?”
- Cut a Tree for the Holidays from Your National Forest article
- Share Your Story adventure writing contest
- Every Kid Outdoors Fourth Grade pass program
- Every Kid Outdoors Christmas tree ornament coloring page