White River National Forest Christmas Tree Permit

White River National Forest

This permit allows you to cut a Holiday Tree within designated areas and timeframes on the White River National Forest! Lifelong memories are built during these special times and we are happy to help with any information gathering you'll need to make this trip a safe and enjoyable one. Please make sure to stop in one of our local offices to learn more about free Holiday Tree permits for fourth graders!

White River Holiday Tree Permits will be onsale beginning November 9 2023.  Cost is $10 per permit with a limit of 5 permits per person. 

Please be sure to read and agree to all the tips and guidelines when selecting your tree! For more information please visit: www.fs.usda.gov/goto/whiteriver/christmastrees 

Need to Know

Selecting Your Tree

Each forest has limitations on the size of the tree you can cut and the species of trees that are permitted. See below to help you measure and choose a tree that meets your permit's guidelines. 

Tree height: 15 feet maximum

Stump height: 6 inches maximum

Stump diameter: 6 inches maximum

Do not cut Colorado Blue Spruce.

Do not cut single trees in forest openings, find a small group of trees to cut from instead. This will promote the remaining trees to grow faster.

Cutting the top off of large trees is prohibited.  

If snow is on the ground, remove it from around the stump so you can accurately measure the stump and tree height.

Cut your tree as close to the ground as possible (stump height of 6 inches or less).

Trees must be used for personal use and cannot be resold.

Where to Cut Your Tree

Do not cut within Wilderness areas, proposed Wilderness areas, Developed Recreation Areas, Administrative Areas, Campgrounds, Ski Areas, Glenwood Canyon, or Commercial Timber Sales.

Do not cut within 100 feet of main roads.

Do not cut within Camp Hale on the Eagle-Holy Cross Ranger District.

Do not cut within National Forest lands within Gunnison County.

Do not cut within the lower slopes of Meadow Mountain, directly behind the Holy Cross Ranger Station.

Do not cut any trees marked with blue or green paint.

Do not cut any trees within current fire closure areas or other areas closed to human entry by Forest Special Order. Please visit https://www.fs.usda.gov/alerts/whiteriver/alerts-notices for more information on closure areas.

Planning Your Trip

Helpful Cutting Tips

Carry your tree carefully out of the woods. Dragging the tree will rub off needles and bark. 

If the tree is too big to transport inside of your vehicle, wrap it in canvas to prevent wind damage. 

Once home, cut the bottom of the trunk off and place the freshly cut trunk in a bucket of water. Replenish water. 

If storing your tree outside for a few days before putting it in the house, keep it in an area protected from the wind, such as the north or east side of your house or under a shaded tree.

Tools you might want to consider bringing with you include a measuring tape to ensure you select a tree that fits in your home; handsaw to cut your tree; gloves to protect your hands; boots to protect your feet; a tarp to sit on and/or to move your tree once it's cut; and rope or straps to secure your tree to your vehicle.

Choose a tree from a dense forested area, which will give the remaining trees more space to grow.

Cut the leftover branches from the stump and scatter them.

How to Plan Your Trip

Before you leave home, be sure to measure the space where you plan to place the tree in your home (height and width), and measure the space in your vehicle where you will be transporting the tree.

Cell service may be spotty or unavailable. Be sure someone knows where you are and when to expect you back

Check the latest weather conditions, forest warnings and road closures before you leave on your trip.

Bring a map with you. Don’t rely on GPS because it may not be up-to-date with forest service roads.

Dress warmly and take extra dry clothes. Expect winter weather, including cold temperatures, snow and winds.

Roads may not be plowed. Carry tire chains, shovel(s) and a tow chain. Be sure your vehicle has a full tank of gas. Bring a spare key and give it to someone else in your party. Don’t get locked out of your car! Park in areas so that traffic can get by safely, and do not block gates.

Bring plenty of food and water with you as well as an overnight survival kit in case you become stranded.

Start your day early. Be sure to find your tree and leave the woods before dark.

We don't recommend bringing your pets but, if you do, they must be on a leash.

The best tool for the job is a hand saw or camp saw. 

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