Christmas permits now available online
Christmas tree permits are now available for purchase online.
The Flathead National Forest is one of four National Forests participating in offering permits online through the Open Forest system. Christmas tree permits purchased online need to be printed to be valid, and are only valid for trees harvested from the Flathead National Forest. Visit online at openforest.fs.usda.gov to purchase the permit.
Traditional Christmas tree permits will still be available at local Forest Service offices, or participating vendors.
Permits are $5 per tree, with a maximum of three trees per household allowed.
The Forest Service guidelines for cutting Christmas trees includes:
• Christmas trees cut to thin overcrowded stands can be beneficial. As young stands of trees mature, they are constantly competing for more space. By cutting a Christmas tree from dense groups around the more vigorous trees, the remaining trees will grow faster to make a future forest.
• Do not cut in plantations, previously thinned stands of trees, campgrounds, or areas posted as closed to Christmas tree cutting.
• Only trees that are 3 to 4 inches in diameter or less at the stump should be cut. The stump should be cut below 8 inches in height. Remove all the limbs from the unused portion of the tree, including the live limbs from the stump. Do not cut large trees just for their tops.
• Forest Service roads which are plowed in the winter may have logging traffic. Drive safely, and be alert for other hazards that may occur. Park in an area where other traffic can get by safely.
• As part of the national Every Kid in a Park initiative, all fourth-graders are eligible for one free Christmas tree permit. Visit online at www.everykidinapark.gov, follow the instructions on the website and print out the voucher. Bring the voucher to a Forest Service office to claim the free tree permit.
For more information about the Christmas tree program on the Flathead National Forest call 406-758-5204, or visit www.fs.usda.gov/detail/flathead/passes-permits/forestproducts/