U.S. Forest Service Christmas tree permits available for purchase on Nov. 1

SPARKS — Permits to cut Christmas trees on the Austin-Tonopah, Ely, and Mountain City-Ruby Mountains-Jarbidge Ranger Districts on the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest will be available for purchase beginning Wednesday, Nov. 1. The U.S. Forest Service Christmas Tree Program is designed for families, businesses, and institutions wishing to cut their own trees for decorating. 

Christmas tree permits must be purchased in person and are issued on a first-come, first-serve basis for $5 each. Permits are nonrefundable and nontransferable, and only valid through Dec. 25, 2017.

Each Christmas tree permit is valid for the cutting of one tree in specific areas on lands managed by the Ranger District for which the permit was purchased. A map and cutting rules and regulations will be included with your permit. The permit does not authorize cutting on private, state, or other federal lands. Christmas trees also cannot be harvested within developed campgrounds, administrative sites, or designated wilderness areas.

Remember topping trees is not permitted

The topping of trees and leaving behind high tree stumps is visually undesirable and can cause resource management problems. Please ensure that the maximum height of the stump left behind is no taller than six inches above bare soil with no live branches left on the stump. Also attach the Christmas tree permit securely to the tree so it is visible during transportation.

“Keep your family and your own safety in mind as you head out to look for a Christmas tree on National Forest lands,” said Duncan Leao, Vegetation Management Specialist. “Dress warmly and bring along a saw, shovel, map, snacks and water. Also make sure relatives or friends know where you are going and when to expect you home.”

Getting your tree early before the snow falls usually means better access on forest roads. High-clearance, 4-wheel drive vehicles, and traction devices are recommended when driving on mountain roads at this time of year. Vehicles with inadequate tires and/or no chains have caused extensive problems in the past, blocking roads and preventing other drivers from being able to enter or leave the cutting areas. Remember, most forest roads are not plowed in the winter. Leave early in the day to allow for maximum daylight. Be prepared for unpredictable weather and check road conditions before leaving. 

The Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest is also pleased to announce that all fourth graders are eligible for a free Christmas tree permit, while supplies last, through the Every Kid in a Park initiative. Every Kid in a Park is a nationwide call to action to build the next generation of conservationists. All fourth graders are eligible to receive an Every Kid in a Park Pass that allows free access to federal lands and waters across the country where entrance fees are charged for a full year. In support of this initiative, the Forest Service is making available a free Christmas tree permit to every interested fourth grader with an Every Kid in a Park Pass or paper voucher.

For additional information about the initiative and how to obtain a pass, visit https://www.everykidinapark.gov/. To be eligible for a free Christmas tree permit from the Humboldt-Toiyabe National, all fourth graders must be accompanied by a parent or guardian and present their Every Kid in a Park Pass or paper voucher.

Christmas tree permits for the Austin-Tonopah, Ely, and Mountain City-Ruby Mountains-Jarbidge Ranger Districts are available at the locations listed above.