USDA Forest Service Christmas Tree Permits Available Online through Recreation.gov
For the third season, the USDA Forest Service is selling Christmas Tree permits through Recreation.gov, which makes it more convenient for visitors to find and purchase permits to cut holiday trees from their favorite national forest. Permits are currently available and may vary by national forest.
“Many families are discovering their local forest for the first time to bring home their special holiday tree,” said USDA Forest Service Chief Randy Moore. “These experiences help connect people to their local national forest and become treasured family memories.” Lynn G. expressed their delight when visiting the Arapaho and Roosevelt National Forest in Colorado, “This was our first year cutting down our own tree and we weren’t entirely sure what to expect. Our children (ages 10 and 5) had a blast and have already asked to do this again next year.”
Recreation.gov makes it easy to purchase a permit. “Visitor feedback has been extremely positive,” said Rick DeLappe, Recreation.gov Program Manager. “Of the more than 9,000-star ratings submitted by those who purchased permits on Recreation.gov during the 2021 season, 96 percent gave 4 or 5 stars of their experience.” This comment was from a visitor to the Bridger-Teton National Forest in Wyoming.
As an alternative to visiting a Forest Service office in person, visitors can go to Recreation.gov and search for their local national forest. Once on Recreation.gov, national forests provide important details, like cutting area maps, types of trees to cut, and important planning tips on their respective permit pages. “It is important to remember that visitors will need to print the permit and display it on the dash of their vehicle on the day of their visit to cut their trees,” said DeLappe. Also keep in mind that many national forests may continue to sell permits in person or through local vendors.
Fourth graders with an Every Kid Outdoors pass are eligible for a free Christmas tree permit and can apply by entering the pass or voucher number when purchasing a permit. And kids of all ages can download, color, and decorate their tree with this Christmas tree ornament coloring page for a fun, handmade addition to their tree.
Cutting a Christmas tree improves forest health. The permit system helps to thin densely populated stands of small-diameter trees. Local forest health experts identify areas that benefit from thinning trees and tend to be the perfect size for Christmas trees. Removing these trees in designated areas helps other trees grow larger and can open areas that provide food for wildlife.
- Recreation.gov Christmas Tree Permit page with map interface
- Help Center article “How Do I Purchase and Print a Christmas Tree Permit?”
- Cut a Tree for the Holidays from Your National Forest article
- Share Your Story adventure writing contest
- Every Kid Outdoors Fourth Grade pass program
- Every Kid Outdoors Christmas tree ornament coloring page