Forest Products Permits

Permits are a way the Forest Service manages the protection of natural resources and is consistent with the Forest land and resource management goals outlined in the Forest Plan. Edible material, decorative material, minerals, plants, woody material (including Christmas tree and firewood) are all available to harvest in a forest and are managed through the use of permits in order to provide the greatest good.

Purchasing Permits

Forest Products permits must be purchased at one of our offices and online for Christmas Trees at Recreation.gov

 

Firewood Permits

Firewood permits are available on both the Green Mountain and Finger Lakes National Forests. Firewood permits are intended to be used for personal use. Permits are issued to help manage natural resources and as a way of reducing potential wildfire fuels.

Fees and Availability

Firewood permits are issued for:

  • A minimum charge of $20 (2 cords) at $10 per cord.
  • A maximum volume of 10 cords.
  • Permittee cannot cut live trees.

Rules for Harvesting

  • Please review the attached map to understand areas where you may and may not cut.  
  • Trees over 20 feet tall are not covered by the permit. 
  • The tree must be cut at a point no higher than 6 inches off the ground. 
  • Permit holders must remove all trash and litter resulting from their activities. This includes removing all woody debris from road surfaces, ditches, and culvert openings where cutting took place. 

Permit Conditions

  • Permit is subject to operational closures due to weather, ground, and road conditions.
  • Permit is not valid in Timber Sale areas, designated recreation areas, or wilderness areas.
  • Permit must be in the permittee’s possession while harvesting and transporting products.
  • Permit is non-transferable.
  • Permit sale is final and not subject to refund.

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Christmas Tree Permits

Annually, the U.S. Forest Service welcomes visitors to select and cut a Christmas tree on the Green Mountain National Forest with the purchase of a permit. For many families, cutting down a Christmas tree from their backyard National Forest is a wonderful holiday tradition. By cutting your own tree, you take an active part in managing your national forests! Please be sure to read and agree to all the tips and guidelines when selecting your tree.

Before you head out to the woods, the following information is provided to help you prepare for a successful adventure. Lifelong memories are built during these special times and we are happy to help you prepare for a safe and enjoyable event. 

Please be sure to read and agree to all the tips and guidelines when selecting your tree.

Fees and Availability

Christmas tree permits are issued under the following conditions:

  • Green Mountain National Forest office.
  • Purchasing permits in-person may be done at offices located in Manchester and Rochester, VT. Due to the ongoing pandemic, please confirm office locations are open prior to travel.
  • Permit cost is $5 and is non-refundable.
  • 2 permits allowed per household per year. 
  • Trees obtained under the Christmas tree permit may not be resold.

Rules for Harvesting

  • Trees may only be cut within designated areas and indicated in the maps linked below. 
  • Trees over 20 feet tall are not covered by the permit.
  • The tree must be cut at a point no higher than 6 inches off the ground.
  • Permit holders must remove all trash and litter resulting from their activities. This includes removing all woody debris from road surfaces, ditches, and culvert openings where cutting took place.

Permit Conditions

  • Permit is not valid in: Congressionally-designated wilderness areas; active timber sale areas; and developed recreation sites including campgrounds, picnic areas, and day use sites; and the following management areas as designated by the 2006 Forest Plan: Ecological Special Areas, Existing and Candidate Research Natural Areas, Alpine/subalpine Special Areas, and the Robert Frost Recreation Special Area (see map).
  • Permit must be attached to the tree before transporting it from the site where it was cut.

‚ÄčChristmas Tree Cutting Area Maps

Planning Your Trip

  • Before you leave home, be sure to measure the space where you plan to place the tree in your home (height and width), and measure the space in your vehicle where you will be transporting the tree.
  • Cell service may be spotty or unavailable. Be sure someone knows where you are and when to expect you back.
  • Check the latest weather conditions, forest warnings and road closures before you leave on your trip.
  • Bring a map with you. Don’t rely on GPS because it may not be up-to-date with Forest Service roads. Roads may not be plowed. Carry tire chains, shovel(s) and a tow chain. Be sure your vehicle has a full tank of gas. Bring a spare key and give it to someone else in your party. Don’t get locked out of your car! Park in areas so that traffic can get by safely, and do not block gates.
  • Dress warmly and take extra dry clothes. Expect winter weather, including cold temperatures, snow and winds.
  • Start your day early. Be sure to find your tree and leave the woods before dark.

Helpful Cutting Tips

  • Carry your tree carefully out of the woods. Dragging the tree will rub off needles and bark. 
  • If the tree is too big to transport inside of your vehicle, wrap it in canvas to prevent wind damage. 
  • Once home, cut the bottom of the trunk off and place the freshly cut trunk in a bucket of water. Replenish water. 
  • If storing your tree outside for a few days before putting it in the house, keep it in an area protected from the wind, such as the north or east side of your house or under a shaded tree.
  • Tools you might want to consider bringing with you include a measuring tape to ensure you select a tree that fits in your home; handsaw to cut your tree; gloves to protect your hands; boots to protect your feet; a tarp to sit on and/or to move your tree once it's cut; and rope or straps to secure your tree to your vehicle.
  • Choose a tree from a dense forested area, which will give the remaining trees more space to grow.
  • Cut the leftover branches from the stump and scatter them.

Free Holiday Tree Permit  for Fourth and Fifth Graders with Every Kid Outdoors Passes

Every Kid Outdoors pass holders are eligible for a free holiday tree permit through their local National Forest.To obtain a free holiday tree permit, visit Recreation.gov to apply using the Every Kid Outdoors pass by checking the box indicating you have a pass and entering the pass or voucher number (a $2.50 reservation fee will be applied).

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Gathering Forest Botanicals

Forest botanical products include, but are not limited to, bark, berries, boughs, bryophytes, bulbs, burls, cones, ferns, fungi (including mushrooms), forbs, grasses, mosses, nuts, pine straw, roots, sedges, seeds, shrubs, transplants, tree sap, and wildflowers.  Many can be gathered without the need for permits on both the Green Mountain and Finger Lakes National Forests, with some special restrictions for sensitive resources. Those resources include:

Restricted Products on the Green Mountain

Prohibited

Currently, gathering of the following plants is totally prohibited on the Green Mountain National Forest:

  • Ginseng (Panax quinquefolius)
  • Ladyslippers (Cypripedium spp.
  • Any plant listed as threatened, endangered, rare, or sensitive by the federal government, or the state of Vermont.

Watch Species

Four plants have been identified as watch species and require notification of the District Ranger if gathering is desired; gathering them may require a permit. These plants are:

  • Fiddleheads (Matteucia struthiopteris)
  • Wild leeks or ramps (Allium tricoccum)
  • Sweet grass (Hierachloe odorata)
  • Black ash (Fraxinus nigra)

Restricted Products on the Finger Lakes National Forest

Products requiring Permits

Special permits are required for the for the following forest products on the Finger Lakes National Forest and must be obtained from a forest office:

  • Maple Sap

Prohibited Plants and Gathering Areas

Currently, gathering of the following plants is prohibited on the Finger Lakes National Forest:

  • Any plant listed as threatened, endangered, rare, or sensitive by the federal government, or the state of New York.

Gathering of special forest products that require a permit (firewood and other wood products), whether for commercial or personal use, is prohibited in the following areas.

  • Future Old Forest
  • RNA/cRNA
  • Ecological Special Area management areas

Restricted Areas

Additionally, special forest product gathering is restricted to non-commercial activities, or incidental and personal use permit gathering.

  • Recreation/Education Special Areas
  • North Country Scenic Trail

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