Absolutely nobody likes hearing about Christmas before it's even Halloween. That said, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Forest Service has a terrific family activity sure to save you some cash when the season hits! Starting on October 12, you can buy permits to cut your own Christmas trees through Recreation.gov. The service makes it easy for you to find your closest national forest and plan your holiday adventure.
Cutting your own holiday tree can be a very special family tradition. It puts you outside and in touch with nature ... and it's great exercise, too! Engaging in this activity is ecologically friendly and guilt-free. The Forest System's permit system helps to thin densely populated stands of small-diameter trees. Local forest health experts identify areas that benefit from thinning trees and tend to be the perfect size for Christmas trees. Removing these trees in designated areas helps other trees grow larger and can open areas that provide food for wildlife.
Don't worry; you don't have to actually go anywhere or do anything right now. Instead of visiting a Forest Service office in person, just go to Recreation.gov and search for your local national forest. Once on Recreation.gov, national forests provide important details, like cutting area maps, types of trees to cut and important planning tips on their respective permit pages. At the time of this writing, various national forests offered trees for $5 each.
“It is important to remember that visitors will need to print the permit and display it on the dash of their vehicle on the day of their visit to cut their trees,” said Program Manager Rick DeLappe. "Also keep in mind that many national forests may continue to sell permits in person or through local vendors."
Every Kid Outdoors Program
Fourth graders with an Every Kid Outdoors pass are eligible for a free Christmas tree permit and can apply by entering the pass or voucher number when purchasing a permit. Kids of all ages can download, color and decorate their tree with this Christmas tree ornament coloring page for a fun, handmade addition to their tree. For more information about Every Kid Outdoors, click here!