Black Hills National Forest Christmas Tree Permit

Black Hills National Forest

This permit allows you to cut a Christmas Tree within designated areas of the Black Hills 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. 

Your tree is just one of the many products national forests provide. Through careful management, the Black Hills National Forest also offers outdoor recreation, wildlife habitat, clean water, livestock grazing, timber products, and minerals.

The Forest is a 1.2 million acre (2,000 square miles) outdoor wonderland in all seasons of the year. I hope you'll take some time to enjoy and appreciate the natural beauty that surrounds us here in the Black Hills.

Please be sure to read and agree to all the tips and guidelines when selecting your tree. 

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: 20 feet maximum

Stump height: 6 inches maximum

Stump diameter: 6 inches maximum

Take the whole tree. Do not remove the top of the tree; cut down the entire tree

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

Where to Cut Your Tree

Cut trees only within the national forest boundary and respect surrounding private property.

Trees may not be cut in developed recreation sites, Forest Service administrative sites, active timber sales, the Black Hills Experimental Forest near Rochford, the Black Elk Wilderness, the Beaver Park area near Sturgis or within Spearfish Canyon

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.

You must print and bring your Christmas Tree Permit with you.

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.

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