Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest Christmas Tree Permit

Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest

This permit allows you to cut a Christmas Tree within designated areas of the Unita-Wasatch-Cache National Forest. Three Ranger Districts are open for you to get your Christmas Tree: the Heber-Kamas Ranger District, the Evanston-Mountain View Ranger District, or the Spanish Fork Ranger District.  

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. 

Need to Know

Where to Cut Your Tree

You may only cut a Christmas tree in one of the following three Ranger Districts: Heber-Kamas Ranger District, Evanston-Mountain View Ranger District, or the Spanish Fork Ranger District. Your permit will identify the Ranger District you selected when purchasing your Christmas tree permit.

Do not cut trees within wilderness areas, timber sales, and areas that have been planted with new trees.

Do not cut within 200 feet of riparian areas (lakes and streams), roads, campgrounds, picnic areas, administrative sites, summer home areas, or within designated closed areas shown on the tree cutting maps.

In the Heber-Kamas Ranger District, only subalpine fir trees, 20 feet or shorter may be cut.

Remember to physically secure your permit to the Christmas tree immediately after cutting.

Maps of the Ranger District boundaries can be found here: https://www.fs.usda.gov/main/uwcnf/maps-pubs

On the Spanish Fork District, Christmas tree harvesting is only allowed in the Vernon area. Species are limited to Juniper and Pinyon trees.

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 foot maximum

Cut Stump Height: 6 inch 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.

How to identify subapline fir and tell the difference from spruce

Subalpine fir needles are soft and blunt, unlike spruce needles which are stiff and sharp. Grab a branch gently with your bare hand. If the needles jab you it is probably a spruce. 

Another test is to roll a needle between your thumb and index finger like a matchstick. If it rolls easily, it is a spruce, if it is flat and won’t roll, it is probably a fir.

If you see any brown/tan colored cones in the top of the tree, it is not a subalpine fir. Trees with brown/tan colored cones are spruce, lodgepole pine, or Douglas fir. 

Subalpine fir tree bark is grey in color, smooth, and has horizontal striations (lines).

Planning Your Trip

Helpful Cutting Tips

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.

 Cut the leftover branches from the stump and scatter them. Choose a tree from a dense forested area, which will give the remaining trees more space to grow.

If the tree is too big to transport inside of your vehicle, wrap it in canvas to prevent wind damage.  If you cut your tree early, store it in the coolest and shadiest spot possible before setting up.

Before setting up your tree, make a fresh, straight cut across the base of the trunk, about 1 inch from the bottom is enough. Immediately place your tree in a water-holding stand. Check the water level daily. A fresh tree may absorb several pints to a gallon of water a day. A Christmas tree likes a cool safe place, so please don’t place your tree near your fireplace, heat source or television set. 

Don’t forget to unplug light cords and check that connections you use on your tree are in good working order to ensure a safe Christmas for you and your family.

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. Bring a map with you. Don’t rely on GPS because it may not be up-to-date with forest service roads. Check the latest weather conditions, forest warnings and road closures before you leave on your trip. Start your day early. Be sure to find your tree and leave the woods before dark. Bring plenty of food and water with you as well as an overnight survival kit in case you become stranded. Dress warmly and take extra dry clothes. Expect winter weather, including cold temperatures, snow and winds.

The longer you wait to cut your tree, the more likely you will have to deal with difficult road conditions, deep snow, and cold weather. Plan accordingly! 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. Be sure to turn around before you park, and be sure you leave plenty of room for other vehicles to pass. Do not park adjacent to busy highways in narrow shoulder areas. This creates a dangerous situation not only for you, but others traveling on these roads. Park in graded and/or plowed areas whenever possible.

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

Tread lightly. Please operate off highway vehicles only on designated roads and trails. O.H.V. maps are available from the Heber or Kamas Offices. 

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