Holiday season is almost here and Santa Fe National Forest is offering the public the chance to cut down a Christmas tree.
Families can create some great memories and get a tree for the holidays with the purchase a permit online or in person from a variety of Forest Service offices starting Nov. 9 and running through Dec. 31.
The official cutting period begins Nov. 16. Here are the options to obtain a permit:
- Christmas tree permits will be available for purchase at Recreation.gov on Nov. 9.
- In-person sales at district offices and SFNF Headquarters will begin on Nov. 15.
- In-person sales at Walatowa Visitor Center will be available starting on Nov. 17 with hours of 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday through Sunday.
The SFNF’s Christmas tree permits are $10 and nonrefundable. Permits purchased online will include an additional $2.50 service fee. One tag is valid for a tree up to 5 inches in diameter and 10 feet in height. Trees taller than 10 feet and/or wider than 5 inches require an additional tag. For example, a 15-foot tree requires two tags.
A Recreation.gov account in necessary to purchase a Christmas tree permit online. Need-to-know information about cutting your own tree, maps and tips for planning your adventure will also be posted on the website. You will need to print the online permit and place it on the dashboard of your vehicle before you head into the woods. The digital image on your smartphone is not considered a valid permit.
As part of the “Every Kid Outdoors” initiative, every fourth grader is eligible for a free holiday tree permit with a valid Every Kid Outdoors pass, downloadable at everykidoutdoors.gov. The student’s unique pass code is required to receive a free permit. Fourth graders can apply for their free permit through the online system by selecting the option and entering the code on their pass when prompted. The online Every Kid Outdoors permits will include the $2.50 service fee. Every Kid Outdoors permits can also be redeemed at all SFNF offices except the Jemez District Office.
Permit holders should be prepared for unpredictable weather changes and colder conditions at higher elevations. SFNF Christmas tree permits are valid only on land within forest boundaries. Tree cutting is prohibited in developed recreation sites and congressionally designated wilderness areas and within 300 feet of streams, rivers and paved roads. See this Forest Service video for more tips on harvesting your own Christmas tree.