Three Reasons to Cut Down Your Own Christmas Tree (in a National Forest) this Year

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Armed with a $5 permit, you can go into a national forest, and cut down your own Christmas tree.

Forest Service Website with the Details:

nate and pug christmas tree

Why cut down your own Christmas tree?

  • It’s cheap – though you’ll have to pay for the $5 permit, a saw (consider borrowing one from a friend or renting one from your local tool library), gas and snacks, it still may be cheaper than tree lot price – plus it can be a heck of a lot more fun.
  • It keeps the forest healthy. Removing a small tree gives other trees the chance to grow. On the forest fire front, you’re literally removing future wildfire fuel from the forest.
  • It’s an adventure. You may find yourself meandering down a country or logging road, with cars rarely passing by. It’s an opportunity to explore your local national forest. Do note, however, harvesting your own christmas tree comes with some rules: You must be at least 300 feet from any body of water, and you must also be 150 feet from state highways, parks, and campgrounds. The Forest Service website actually recommends heading out on cross country skis to find your own tree if you’re up for it.

Getting your own Christmas tree from a national forest, is cheap, supports forest health and is an adventure. If you do choose to go be sure to plan accordingly for your wilderness excursion:

  • Tell someone where you intend to go.
  • Pack water, snacks, a blanket and warm clothes. Consider making a zip lock bag survival kit (just in case).
  • You’ll probably want ropes or bungees and maybe even a tarp for strapping the tree in.

tree rings

I harvested my own tree last year.

I picked up a permit at the general store in Stevenson Washington, then drove off into the woods with my brother and his partner.

After some exploring. We found a lovely hemlock.

Sawing was a lot more difficult than I anticipated and strapping the tree down was a chore. We brought hot cider in a thermos and good spirits. It was a lovely time.

Every time I looked at my tree that holiday season, I was proud.

If you’re up for it, consider harvesting your own Christmas tree from a national forest this year.

tree on carchristmas tree on carNational Forest Christmas Tree

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