Cut A Tree for the Holidays from Your National Forests

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New for the 2020 holiday season, many forests across the country will make their holiday tree permits available to purchase online through 

The Forest Service decided to move permit sales to as an added convenience for visitors, as well as to provide an alternative to in-person transactions at offices that may remain closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

To purchase a Christmas Tree permit, visitors can search for their local forest and Christmas Tree Permits. It is also important to know that you will need to set up a account to complete the transaction.  

Christmas tree permits now available through

Every Kid Outdoors Passes/Vouchers Grant Students a Free Holiday 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, 2020 and Aug. 30, 2021. Instructions on how fourth graders can obtain an Every Kid Outdoors pass or voucher is available at  New for the 2020/21 school year, 5th grade students may also apply for an Every Kid Outdoors voucher since many sites were closed in the 2019/20 school year and families were not able to take full advantage of the pass.

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 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).  


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.

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