Cut A Tree for the Holidays from Your National Forest

Home / Articles / Cut A Tree for the Holidays from Your National Forest

Christmas tree permits are available for national forests across the country to purchase online through Recreation.gov for the 2021 holiday season. 

For every tree that is found, cut and carried home as a holiday fixture, a new story is created.  These stories become the precious memories that create traditions worth carrying on for generations and further connect families with their local forests. Braxton Lemmon offered up her "Here is Our Tree" story as part of the Share Your Story adventure writing contest, which is a touching account of their family's first experience with getting a permit and cutting their tree from the Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest in Utah.

In three simple steps, you can begin the adventure to find and bring home your very own Christmas tree.  Begin by searching for your local forest, create or login in to your Recreation.gov account, then purchase and print you permit.  Now, you are ready to venture out and find that special centerpiece to decorate your home for the holidays.  

Christmas tree permits now available through Recreation.gov

Every Kid Outdoors Passes Grant Students a Free Christmas Tree Permit

All fourth graders, or age equivalent, are eligible to receive an Every Kid Outdoors pass, which is good at 2,000-plus federally managed lands and water sites across the country between Sept. 1, 2021 and Aug. 30, 2022. 

Every Kid Outdoors pass/voucher holders are also eligible for a free holiday tree permit through their local national forest.  To obtain a free holiday tree permit, visit Recreation.gov to apply using the Every Kid Outdoors pass/voucher by checking the box indicating you have a pass and entering the pass or voucher number (a $2.50 reservation fee will be applied).  

If you want to add another special touch to your Christmas tree, check out the Every Kid Outdoors DIY ornament <link to pdf when available> for your student to decorate and adorn the branches for all to enjoy.

Child dragging a tree across the snow

This kid has found the perfect tree for him (US Forest Service)

Here are seven tips as you prepare for your Christmas Tree cutting adventure to your local forest:

  1. Measure the space in your house so you can pick the right size tree once you are in the forest.
  2. Check road and forest conditions and prepare for adverse weather.  
  3. Make sure you are in a designated cutting area, or follow guidelines for locations where tree cutting is allowed.  Avoid venturing on to private property.
  4. Choose a tree in an overcrowded stand to help thin the area.
  5. Cut your tree close to the ground.  The stump you leave behind should be about 6 inches.
  6. Bring a rope and tarp to move your tree from the cutting area to your vehicle.  
  7. Secure your tree to your vehicle to ensure it remains in place for your trip home.

Above all, we hope you have a wonderful experience and create memories that help you Bring Home a Story from your National Forest.

Explore Related Trips

Bring Home a Story