Christmas Tree Permits

Holiday Tradition - Cutting Your Own Tree!

Christmas Tree TripCutting your own tree on the Deschutes National Forest has been a holiday tradition for many years. To help protect the future of this program, we ask that you take special care to read and follow the guidelines for collecting your tree and the instruction printed on your Christmas tree permit/tag. 2021 Christmas Tree Permits go on sale Tuesday, November 9!

Purchase Online

Rec.gov Christmas Tree PermitsChristmas tree permits for the 2021 season will be available for purchase on Recreation.gov (a $2.50 reservation fee will be applied). Individual Christmas tree permits are $5 each and households can purchase a maximum of five permits. Christmas tree permits purchased online will need to be printed to be valid.

Purchase Local

You can purchase your Christmas tree permit at a number of local vendors.

Permits will also be available to purchase at the Sisters Ranger District in Sisters and the Crooked River National Grassland offfice in Madras.

Every Kid Outdoors

Every Kid Outdoors LogoFourth graders are eligible for a free Christmas tree permit as a part of the Every Kid Outdoors initiative, which is a national program to encourage children to visit national parks, forests, and public lands. To be eligible for the free tree permit, the student must have an Every Kid Outdoors pass. Information about getting the Every Kid Outdoors pass can be found at https://everykidoutdoors.gov/index.htm

Once the student has the pass he or she can obtain a free holiday tree permit by visiting https://www.recreation.gov/tree-permits. Using the Every Kid Outdoors pass/voucher the student should check the box indicating they have a pass and enter the pass or voucher number (a $2.50 reservation fee will be applied). To learn more please visit: https://www.recreation.gov/articles/location-spotlight/cut-a-tree-for-the-holidays-from-your-national-forests/120.

Students using the Every Kid Outdoors voucher can also obtain their free Christmas tree permit at the Sisters Ranger District office, Madras Chamber of Commerce – Crooked River National Grassland office or by calling their local Forest Service office.

Finding the Perfect Tree

The most popular tree species used for Christmas Trees are Douglas-fir, White fir, Noble fir and sometimes, Lodgepole and Ponderosa Pines.

In general, pines can be found on flatter ground at lower elevations around Bend. Firs and Cedars are found at higher elevations around Bend and Sisters.

  • How you collect your Holiday Tree can be half the fun... Try cross-country skiing into less accessible areas!
  • Branches trimmed from your tree may be used as Holiday greens. Recycle!
  • Check with your county landfill. Most will recycle trees free of charge through the end of January. (Commercial lots excluded. Please no tinsel or flocked trees.)

Guidelines and Restrictions for collecting your Holiday Tree

  • One permit is required for each tree
  • Five permits maximum, per household. Permits are $5.00 each.
  • Cut your tree only on National Forest lands.
  • The tree you choose must be at least 200 feet from main roads, recreation sites and campgrounds, and stay away from areas along the sides of streams, rivers, lakes, and wet areas. Check with the ranger district for the proper distance.
  • Select any tree species that is less than 12 feet tall.
  • Only take a tree that is within 20 feet of another tree. Cut stumps shorter than 12 inches.
  • Respect road and area closures. Motorized travel for the purpose of cutting your tree must comply with restriction found on Forest Service Motor Vehicle Use Maps.

Planning Your Tree Trip

  • Check the weather forecast and road conditions before traveling.
  • Dress for the season. Always be prepared for the cold and snow.
  • Start tree hunting early in the day to have plenty of daylight hours.
  • Bring emergency supplies, including water and food and a first-aid kit.
  • Remember to tell someone where you are going.
  • Bring a map and compass. Your cell phone may not work.
  • Select a tree with a trunk six inches or less in diameter and prepare to cut the tree no more than six inches above ground level.
  • Never cut a tall tree just for the top.
  • Select a tree from overstocked areas and thickets. Watch restricted areas. Cut only one tree per tag. 
  • Attach your tree tag to harvested tree before placing in vehicle.
  • Bring a rope and tarp to move your tree from the harvest area to your vehicle.
  • Remember, you are responsible for your own safety and for the safety of those around you.

Please do not cut trees:

  • On private property
  • Within 150 feet of state highways, picnic areas, campgrounds and other developed areas
  • Within 300 feet of streams and bodies of water
  • Within young tree plantations (nursery grown seedlings planted for future forests)
  • Within designated Wilderness areas




https://www.fs.usda.gov/detail/deschutes/home/?cid=fseprd950018