Chop down your own tree for Christmas

November 10, 2018

McCall, ID — Harvesting a Christmas tree is a fun adventure and often a traditional family event. Christmas tree permits will be available for purchase beginning on Saturday, Nov. 17, according to a press release. On that date, commercial vendors will begin selling the permits. On Monday, Nov. 19, permits will be available at National Forest offices. All tree permits are valid to December 25.

Each permit allows one tree to be cut, with a limit of three permits per family. For both Boise and Payette National Forests, the cost of a permit for one tree is $10 and the maximum height of a permitted tree is 12 feet. One permit works for both forests.

All purchasers are provided with information about where a Christmas tree may be harvested, restrictions and helpful tips.

A Christmas tree permit is for personal use only and use of permits for commercial purposes is prohibited. Permits are non-refundable.

In coordination with the “Every Kid in a Park” program, fourth-graders who are participating in the program can receive a free Christmas tree permit. The U.S. Forest Service is among several federal agencies that support the Every Kid in a Park initiative which is a nationwide call to action to build the next generation of outdoor enthusiasts. The initiative provides a free pass to all fourth-grade students who first go to www.EveryKidinaPark.gov and complete the application process

To receive a free Christmas tree permit, the fourth-grader and a parent must go to a Forest Service office in person with the “voucher” they received from the online website at: www.EveryKidinaPark.gov.

Commercial vendors will not be issuing a free Christmas tree permit to participants of the Every Kid in a Park program, and free Christmas tree permits cannot be sent through the mail or electronically. Participation in the Every Kid in a Park program also offers benefits at National Parks and on other public lands and facilities across the United States.

If there is an unusually heavy snowfall and forest roads become a safety concern, some areas may be closed early to Christmas tree gathering. Forest roads are not plowed. Call ahead and check websites for road conditions before heading out. Please do not block private or county roadways at any time.

Family safety guidelines:

Use the brochure with instructions provided.Practice winter survival and driving techniques.Bring the right tools, such as a saw and a shovel, so the tree can be cut to within 6 inches of the ground’s surface.Take along emergency equipment, plenty of food and water, and try to use a 4-wheel drive vehicle if you are planning to travel in snow country.Always inform neighbors and family friends of the route you intend to take, include a map of your destination, and the time that you plan to be gone.Be prepared for the possibility of a long hike or snowmobile ride while searching for the perfect tree.According to Idaho state law, any vehicle carrying a load that extends more than 4 feet past the tailgate, must display a red or florescent orange flag tied on the end of the load to caution other drivers.

Where to get a Christmas tree permit

Payette National Forest Offices


All Payette National Forest offices are open Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Vendors and offices closed on Thanksgiving.

McCall Forest Supervisor’s Office, 500 North Mission Street, McCall, 208-634-0700

Council Ranger District Office, 2092 Highway 95, Council, 208-253-0100

New Meadows Ranger District Office, 3674 Highway 95, New Meadows, 208-347-0300

Weiser Ranger District Office, 851 E Ninth St., Weiser, 208-549-4200

McCall Ranger District Office, 102 West Lake St., McCall, 208-634-0400

Payette National Forest Vendors


Ridley’s Food and Drug (208) 549-1332, 652 E First St., Open: Everyday 7 a.m. – 11 p.m.

Farmer’s Supply Cooperative (208) 549-0654, 622 E Commercial St., Open: Everyday 5 a.m. – 10 p.m.


Jay’s Sinclair (208) 257-5000, Corner of Hwy 95 and Hwy 71, Open: Everyday 7 a.m. – 8 p.m.


Farmer’s Supply Cooperative (208) 253-4266, 2030 N. Highway 95, Open: Everyday 6 a.m. – 10 p.m.


Albertsons (208) 634-8166, 132 E. Lake Street, Open: Everyday 6:30 a.m. – 11 p.m.

New Meadows:

C & M Lumber (208) 347-3648, 3625 Walker Lane, Open: Mon. – Sat. 8 a.m. – 6 p.m.

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