Tis the Season…For a Forest Service Holiday Tree!


It’s the most wonderful time of the year to visit your national forest and find the perfect holiday tree for your home!

Most national forests issue permits for visitors to cut their own holiday tree. Guidelines vary from forest to forest so visitors are encouraged to contact their local national forest office for information on permits, areas to harvest, maps, and other important details.

This year, Smokey Bear and Santa Claus are teaming up to bring some holiday cheer to fourth graders across the country! As part of the national Every Kid in a Park initiative, the U.S. Forest Service is excited to announce that all fourth graders are eligible for a free holiday tree permit from their local national forest.

In order for students to receive a free tree permit, they must present a valid paper voucher printed from the Every Kid in a Park website.

Step 1: Visit www.everykidinapark.gov and follow instructions to obtain the paper voucher. 

Step 2: Print out the paper voucher.

Step 3:  Bring the paper voucher to a National Forest office to claim the free permit.

The Every Kid in a Park initiative is a national program to encourage children to visit national parks, forests, and public lands. As part of the effort, all fourth graders in the country can obtain a paper pass for free entry into all federal lands and waters by visiting the Every Kid in a Park website atwww.everykidinapark.gov. The Forest Service Every Kid events in November and December emphasize recreating on National Forests and Grasslands, winter sports, holiday tree permits, and the annual Capitol Christmas tree campaign.

Click here to find your nearest national forest office.

Holiday Tree Guidance

  • Contact the national forest office nearest you to obtain a permit.
  • 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 on many forests.
  • The tree you choose must be at least 200 feet from main roads, recreation sites and campgrounds. Stay away from areas along the sides of streams, rivers, lakes, and wet areas. Check with the ranger district for the proper distance.
  • 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.
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