Christmas Tree Permits on Sale for Gallatin and Custer National Forests

Contact(s): Mariah Leuschen 406-493-9657

Gallatin National Forest Logo

Bozeman and Billings, MT – Starting November 14 on the Gallatin and Custer National Forests, Christmas tree permits will be available for purchase at all local ranger district offices located in Big Timber, Livingston, Gardiner, Bozeman, and West Yellowstone on the Gallatin National Forest and Ashland, Red Lodge, Billings and Camp Crook, SD on the Custer National Forest.  For many area residents, cutting their own Christmas tree on National Forest System lands continues to be a popular and long-standing family tradition.  

Permits are $5.00 each with a limit of three permits per family and can be purchased during regular business hours, Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at any of the local ranger district offices.  Additionally, the Beartooth Ranger District, Custer National Forest will have extended hours beginning with the Saturday after Thanksgiving, November 26, and continuing December 3 and 10, from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. 

On the Gallatin National Forest, permits are alsoavailable at the following local businesses:

  • Livingston – Livingston Ace Hardware
  • Gardiner – North Entrance Food Farm
  • Bozeman – Owenhouse Ace Hardware (downtown bicycle shop and W. Main St. locations), Murdoch’s Ranch and Home Supply and Wholesale Sports
  • Belgrade – Lee and Dad’s IGA and Belgrade True Value
  • Big Sky – Big Sky Conoco
  • West Yellowstone – Corner Conoco


Those with a permit may cut a Christmas tree anywhere on the Custer or Gallatin National Forest except in campgrounds, trailheads, designated wilderness areas, developed recreation sites, posted timber sale units, recently planted locations and administrative sites.  Permits are also valid for any national forest in the Northern Region, which includes all of Montana and northern Idaho.    Forest maps, free motor vehicle use maps, and tree species identification guides are available at all offices.  General guidelines for cutting a tree include the following:

  • No tree cutting is allowed within 100 feet of any stream, lake, or wetland. 
  • Only trees 15 feet tall or less may be cut.
  • Cut your tree as close to the ground as possible and below the lowest live limb.  A remaining stump height of 4 inches is ideal. 
  • After cutting your tree, attach the purchased permit to a lower limb near the trunk for transporting home.
  • "Topping" trees, or cutting the top off trees, deforms any future growth and leaves a visual eyesore.  Take the entire tree or choose another one.
  • Trees help protect watersheds, provide habitat for wildlife, and contribute to beautiful scenery.  Keep these values in mind when selecting a tree.


For more information, please contact any Gallatin or Custer National Forest office or visit us on the web at or

- FS -