2020 Christmas Tree Permits

Christmas tree permits are free in 2020, and each permit allows up to three trees to be cut. Please display your permit on the dashboard of your vehicle when you go out to harvest the tree(s). Permits are good for all National Forests in Montana. Please observe the regulations and guidelines below; it is your responsibility to know where you can and cannot harvest National Forest Christmas trees.


Two people walking through a field of snow carrying a freshly cut christmas treeChristmas Tree Permits can now be obtained at Recreation.gov. It is important to carefully read the overview and need-to-know information prior to purchasing the permit. Visitors will also need to set up or login to a Recreation.gov account to purchase their permit, free in 2020. Recreation.gov charges a transaction fee of $2.50.

By Mail

Call your local Ranger Station on the Lolo National Forest and provide your information and you will receive a free permit in the mail within 2-4 business days. Note: The Missoula Ranger District/Forest Supervisor's Office in Missoula is not able to offer permits by mail due to limited staff capacity at this time.

Visit a Ranger Station

Most Lolo National Forest Offices will have free Christmas tree permits available outside at office locations in a designated pick-up area. Please call ahead so staff can ensure permits are ready for collection. Permits, maps and cutting information will be available for pick-up outside office doors to limit the spread of COVID-19.

Pick up a Permit at a Local Business

You can pick up a free 2020 Christmas Tree Permit at the following locations:

  • Cabela’s (Missoula) - 3650 Brooks St, Missoula, MT 59801

  • Murdoch’s (Missoula) - 2801 W Broadway St, Missoula, MT 59808

  • Bob Ward’s Sports & Outdoors (Missoula) - 3015 Paxson St, Missoula, MT 59801

  • Clinton Market (Clinton) - 20500 Old Hwy 10, Clinton, MT 59825

Free Christmas Tree Permits to 4th & 5th Graders!

Every Kid Outdoors Pass which is available to 4th GradersThe Lolo National Forest is pleased to support the Every Kid Outdoors Program and provide FREE Christmas tree permits to all fourth graders! As part of the ‘Every Kid Outdoors’ (formerly Every Kid in the Park) national initiative which strives to connect youth with nature, the Lolo National Forest is offering one free Christmas tree permit to every fourth grader. To participate in the free holiday tree program visit www.everykidoutdoors.gov to obtain a voucher and then visit Recreation.gov for the permit! The EKO program has been expanded to fifth graders for the 2020-2021 school year.

Your Tree Needs Special Care

  • Use a stand with a water reservoir and keep it full. A flat, even cut is best for water absorption.
  • Mist your tree with water.
  • Inspect all tree light cords for safety. A dry tree can burn in only 15 seconds. Use caution with fire near your tree. Locate it away from heat registers, fireplaces & stoves.

You can benefit a stand of growing trees by following these guidelines.

  • Cut Christmas Trees to thin overcrowded stands. This reduces the competition among trees for sunlight and soil nutrients. Leave the healthiest trees.
  • Don't cut in plantations. These are recognized by the uniform height and spacing of the trees.
  • Do not cut trees within developed recreation areas, campgrounds or the following areas: Blue Mountain Recreation Area or the Rattlesnake National Recreation Area.
  • Take trees ONLY off National Forest and BLM lands. Specific ownership maps may be purchased from National Forest and BLM offices.
  • Leave less than a 5" stump. Chop up and scatter the branches you leave behind to decompose. Check at National Forest and BLM offices for recycle locations for your tree.
  • Select a tree under12 feet in height.