Holiday Forest Products

Christmas Trees

Cutting your own Christmas tree can be a festive outing to begin the holiday season. The ritual of hiking through the woods with your family and choosing your personal tree from among the millions of spruce, fir, and pine can greatly enrich a holiday season. Please follow the rules below while choosing your Christmas tree. See your permit for additional rules.  Click here for a printable version of the information below.



A Free Tree for Fourth Graders in the Every Kid Outdoors Program!

The Every Kid Outdoors program is an initiative to get more fourth graders and their families into our national forests and parks.  Fourth grade students can go to the Every Kid Outdoors website and get a voucher good for a special Fourth Grade Pass which can be picked up at any national forest or park office.  The pass (or the printed out voucher) will get the entrance fee waived for the student and their family at national parks and forests, including places like Yellowstone, the Grand Canyon, Isle Royale, and the Apostle Islands' Ice Caves!   Note, this does not apply toward campground fees, BWCAW permit fees, or other use fees. 


Superior National Forest has no entrance fee, but fourth graders can use their pass to get a free permit for their family to harvest a Christmas tree this year!

Remember, adults should supervise any Christmas tree selection and harvesting.


Permitting Regulations and Harvesting Guidelines 

A permit to cut one Christmas tree on Forest Service land may be purchased for $5.00 at any Forest Service office. Some restrictions are as follows:
  • Balsam fir are preferred for harvest, white pine and cedar are not allowed.
  • Make sure you are on National Forest land, but not within the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. Maps can be viewed or purchased at Forest Service offices.
  • Choose cutting areas away from plantations, developed recreation or administration sites, and Research Natural Areas.
  • Walk well off the roadside to select your tree.
  • Select a tree the correct size for your home. Do not cut the top off of a taller tree. The maximum stump height is 12 inches.
  • There is a two tag limit for each household per year.

Balsam Boughs

Gathering balsam boughs to make wreaths is becoming more popular each year. To protect the balsam fir trees on the Superior National Forest, bough gathering permits that specify where and how to cut boughs are issued by the various Forest Service offices in Aurora, Cook, Ely, Grand Marais and Tofte. Permits are required for personal or commercial use.


All bough cutting parties must have a permit. Parties can have up to 5 pickers listed. If you are cutting boughs for personal (non-commercial) use, you may purchase a permit for $20 and cut enough boughs for 5 wreaths. If you are picking commercially to supply commercial manufacturers, there is a minimum permit fee of $50 for two tons. Additional tons may be harvested at $25.00 per ton. See additional rules on your permit.
  • Make sure you are on National Forest land, but not within the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. Maps can be purchased at Forest Service offices.
  • Walk at least 50 feet off the roadside, trail, lake, or recreation area before selecting the trees from which to harvest.
  • Harvest boughs from trees that are greater than 7 feet high.
  • Never fell trees to harvest boughs. You may only harvest branches from the lower half of the tree. Leave a portion of each pruned branch for regeneration.
  • Harvested branches should have ends no larger in diameter than a pencil. As you harvest along the branch, leave part of the branch for growth and regeneration. Cutting at a fork will leave one side of the fork for regeneration.
  • Keep your permit with you while harvesting boughs.
  • Harvesting of Princess Pine is not allowed on the Superior National Forest.

Using an OHV or Snowmobile on the National Forest

Off-Highway Vehicles (OHVs), including ATVs, dirt bikes, etc. must travel on roads and trails designated for this use. OHVs are not allowed to travel cross country on national forest lands within the Superior National Forest. However, snowmobiles may be used crosscountry in most areas as well as on designated trails and unplowed roads provided there is 4 inches of snow cover. Check with the office issuing your holiday greens permit for more specifics regarding use of OHVs and any other restrictions in the area you plan to visit.

For more information or to acquire a holiday greens permit, please contact one of these Superior National Forest offices.