Colville National Forest Christmas Tree Permit

Colville National Forest

This permit allows you to cut a Christmas tree within designated areas of the Colville 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 your trip a safe and enjoyable one.  

Most of the Forest is open to harvesting Christmas trees except as described in the "Need to Know" and "Planning your Trip" sections of your permit.  We have provided District Christmas tree permit maps to assist you in determining which roads are open to vehicles (note that forest roads are not plowed during the winter) between December 1st and 31st.  

Please be sure to review these sections of your permit to ensure you harvest your tree from an open area on the Forest and be sure to read and agree to all the tips and guidelines when selecting your tree.

We hope you and your family have a great time selecting your "perfect tree". Happy Holidays!

Need to Know

Where to Cut Your Tree

Don’t cut on privately owned or state land within the Forest boundary, in posted tree plantations, campgrounds/recreation sites, designated wilderness, research natural areas, active timber sales or other posted areas. These areas are identified on the District Christmas tree permit maps.

Don’t cut within 150 feet of state highways or within 300 feet of recreation sites or other developed areas like recreation cabins and organization camps. 

Trees must be cut at least 50 feet back from the side of Forest roads.

Don’t park at a sno-park without a valid WA Sno-Park permit in your vehicle.

Trees may be cut along open roads within the Forest. Many roads close to motorized use on Dec. 1. Please review the Motor Vehicle Use Map (MVUM) for the area you would like to cut your tree to ensure roads are open to vehicle use. Roads shaded grey on the MVUM are closed to vehicles on Dec 1. Free MVUMs can be viewed on the Forest's website:

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. 

Stump height: 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.

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 wind.

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, for their safety, please keep them on a leash. Numerous pets get lost every year on the Colville National Forest while running free through the woods.

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