Christmas Tree Cutting

Wood Cutting IconYour Christmas Tree Permit

For many homes, the holiday season would not be complete without a fresh-scented Christmas tree. Among the more popular trees are the true firs, pines, and Douglas-firs which have a more natural look than the intensively-cultured trees from tree farms. True fir needles have a notch at their tips. The needles of this grand fir have beneath them two distinguishing white lines of stomata (small pores which allows gases and moisture to enter and escape).

Harvest Technique

Christmas trees must be harvested at least 50 feet from the roadside. Never cut a large tree, such as a white pine, for its tops. Cutting is prohibited in experimental tree seed orchards. These areas are marked and fenced. Do not cut Christmas trees from developed recreation sites such as campgrounds, picnic areas, public beaches or forest camps. Carefully follow maps and posted signs so you can be sure that you are removing the tree from the correct location. Follow local guidelines concerning which trees may be cut. Some trees are left in an area to ensure the establishment of future forests. Cut the trees as close to the ground as possible.


  1. Buy a permit ($5) from the closest ranger station (Colville, Kettle Falls, Newport, Republic). Carry your permit with you and attach it to the tree after cutting
  2. Do not cut a tree from a campground or other developed area.
  3. Cut tree from a thicket. Leave a healthy tree every 20 feet.
  4. Cut the tree close to the ground.
  5. Scatter the limbs before you leave.
  6. Wear warm clothing.
  7. Be sure your auto is prepared for weather in the mountains.
  8. Ask your ranger station for maps and weather information before heading out into the forest. Explain your travel route to and destination to a friend or family member who is not traveling with you.

Woodsy's Safety Tips:

Christmas tree cutting season is mid November to December 24. When cutting your tree, always be prepared for cold weather.

Ask your Forest Service ranger district about road closures and road conditions before driving to the forest.

Wear warm clothing and footwear, know your route (obtain a map from the ranger district), and make sure your vehicle is prepared for icy or snowy conditions and has enough fuel for the trip.

Thank you for your cooperation. Have a safe and Merry Christmas!