Nebraska National Forests and Grasslands Christmas Tree Permit

Nebraska National Forests and Grasslands

This permit allows you to cut a Christmas Tree within designated areas of the Nebraska National Forests and Grasslands! 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 be sure to read and agree to all the tips and guidelines when selecting your tree.

Check out our USFS webpage for more information! 

Need to Know

Selecting Your Tree

Allowed Species: Ponderosa Pine and Eastern Red Cedar.

Tree Height: 20 feet maximum.

Stump Height: 6 inches maximum.

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

Cut and scatter all remaining material to lie on the ground no more than two feet high. Do not place discarded branches on the roadside, in ditches, or in culverts.

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

Do not cut on private land, in wilderness areas, designated campgrounds, or existing tree plantations.

Do not cut in active timber sales or areas that have been planted with new trees.

Do not cut in administrative sites and campgrounds.

Christmas tree cutting in the Signal Hill Research Natural Area (RNA) of the Bessey Ranger District is prohibited.

Christmas tree cutting in any Research Natural Area (RNA) of the Pine Ridge Ranger District is prohibited.

Motor vehicle travel is limited to designated existing roads on the Motor Vehicle Use Map. No off-road travel is allowed.

Permit must be attached and clearly visible from the rear of the vehicle prior to leaving the cutting area, or transporting the tree.

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 daily, as cut trees may consume more than a gallon of water each day.

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; safety glasses to protect your eyes; 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.

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.

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

Be sure your vehicle has a full tank of gas/fuel.

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.

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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