A Holiday Tradition: Cutting Your Own Christmas Tree!

Christmas Tree Permits banner

For some, Christmas tree cutting on the RRSNF has been a holiday tradition for many years. For some, this will be the first year--perhaps of many to come!--of venturing out to the Forest for this fun adventure. To help protect the future of this program, we ask that you take special care to read and follow the guidelines. Some of our conifer trees make ideal Christmas trees, including Douglas-fir, noble fir, and Shasta red fir. Some people also like incense cedars and ponderosa pines, though, so it really is a matter of personal preference!

FOR 2020: Permits can be purchased in two ways: 

NEW in 2020: Christmas Tree Permits from recreation.gov

Beginning November 8, 2020, those wishing to purchase their Christmas tree permit(s) may do so from the comfort of their homes!

Recreation.gov allows people the convenience of purchasing and printing up to 5 permits from their homes. We are thrilled to provide this as an added service to those who celebrate public lands!

How does it work?

All standard rules and regulations apply when purchasing Christmas tree permits through recreation.gov. Permits MUST be printed to be valid.

Know Before You Go

Christmas Tree Tips and Guidelines


Some tips:

  • Go digital and download all of your maps on Avenza, and know where you are at all times! Cell service is NOT necessary for Avenza use.
  • How you collect your Christmas Tree can be half the fun! Try cross-country skiing into less accessible areas and make an adventure out of it!
  • Branches trimmed from your tree may be used as holiday greens!
  • Recycle! There are often ways to dispose of your tree AND help a community group out--be familiar with your options! Flocking and tinsel often reduce your options, so be mindful of how you're decorating.

Guidelines and Restrictions for collecting your Christmas Trees

  • One permit is required for each Christmas tree, and five permits maximum, per household. Permits are $5.00 each.
  • Per the Every Kid Outdoors initiative, and in 2020, ALL 4th Graders AND 5th Graders are entitled to one FREE Christmas tree permit with a valid Every Kid Outdoors pass
    • Every Kid Outdoors passholders simplyvisit recreation.gov and enter in the unique passcode on their plastic pass or paper voucher for their free permit. (A surcharge from recreation.gov applies to each transaction.)
  • Christmas tree permits must be validated and attached to your tree during transit.
  • In southwest Oregon, cut your Christmas tree only on RRSNF or Medford District BLM-administered lands. Basic maps are provided at the time of permit purchase, and Forest and District maps are available for sale.
  • Select any tree species that is less than 12 feet tall.
  • Only take a tree that is within 12 feet of another tree.
  • Cut stumps shorter than 12 inches.
  • Respect road and area closures. Free copies of the Motor Vehicle Use Maps are available at every Forest office, and on Avenza.

Please do not cut trees:

  • On private property.
  • Within 200 feet of state highways, picnic areas, campgrounds and other developed areas.
  • Within 300 feet of streams and bodies of water.
  • Within posted young tree plantations (nursery-grown seedlings planted for future forests).
  • In designated Federal Wilderness Areas or Wild and Scenic River corridors.
  • In Federally-managed campgrounds.
  • In developed recreation areas.
  • In National Monuments (including the BLM's Cascade Siskiyou National Monument).
  • In Research Natural Areas or Areas of Critical Environmental Concern.
  • Within areas currently closed for public health and safety.
East Side Christmast Tree Map West Side Christmas Tree Map
Medford Xmas Tree 2018 Map button Grants Pass Xmas Tree 2018 Map button

Safety Information

  • Go digital and download all of your maps on Avenza, and know where you are at all times! Cell service is NOT necessary!
  • Know Before You Go: Be aware of predicted weather and road conditions of major highways that provide access to your public lands!
  • Always let someone know where you plan to cut.
  • Be prepared: Bring additional warm clothing, a container of hot liquid, water, lunch or a few snacks as it always takes longer than expected.
  • Carry a flashlight, chains, first aid kit, a hatchet or axe, good warm gloves, boots, and rope to tie your tree down.
  • Prolong the life of your tree: When you bring your tree home, immediately cut a 1 inch diagonal piece off the bottom. Place your tree in a container with a mixture of one part sugar to sixteen parts water. Keeping the container filled will help prolong the freshness of your tree.
  • Place your tree so it will not block exits, away from heat.
  • Never use lighted candles on a tree or near any evergreen decorations.
  • Use decorations which are noncombustible, such as glass, or which are flame-retardant. Keep natural evergreens and polystyrene decorations away from candles, fireplaces, and other open flames.

Commercial Harvest

Commercial Christmas tree permits or contracts are typically not offered every year, but are typically only available on our High Cascades or Gold Beach Ranger Districts. Please call the District Office where you are interested in harvesting to check for current availability before you head out to obtain a permit.