Permits to cut Christmas trees on the Carson and Bridgeport Ranger Districts of the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest are available for purchase. 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 $10 each with a limit of two trees per household. Permits are nonrefundable, nontransferable and valid through Dec. 25. The Ranger Districts have a limited amount of Christmas tree permits available, and once those allotted permits are sold, no more will be available.
Each Christmas tree permit is valid for the cutting of one tree on lands managed by the Ranger District for which the permit was purchased. A map and cutting rules and regulations will be included with the 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. Although the entire Carson Ranger District is open to cutting, access could be limited due to seasonal road closures.
The topping of Christmas trees has created problems in previous years by leaving behind high tree stumps. Ensure that the maximum height of the stump left behind is no taller than 6 inches above bare soil with no live branches left on the stump. Remember, topping trees is not permitted. 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 vegetation program manager Duncan Leao. “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, four-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. Most forest roads are not plowed in the winter. Leave early in the day to allow for maximum daylight. Be prepared for unpredictable weather, check road conditions before leaving and always use caution when emerging onto main roads.
The Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest also is 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 a fourth-grade pass that allows free access to federal lands and waters across the country 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 a fourth-grade pass or paper voucher.
For additional information about the initiative and how to obtain a pass, visit www.everykidinapark.gov. To be eligible for a free Christmas tree permit from the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest, all fourth graders must be accompanied by a parent or guardian and present their fourth-grade pass or paper voucher.
Christmas tree permits are available at the Carson Ranger District Office, 1536 S. Carson St., Carson City, 775-882-2766, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. (closed Thanksgiving); possible early office closure on Nov. 21; cost $10 per permit; purchase dates Nov. 1 until sold out.