Forest Service begins selling Christmas tree permits for 2021 season

Permits for cutting down your own Christmas tree are available now. (Shutterstock)

Estimated read time: 2-3 minutes

SALT LAKE CITY — Christmas Eve is 10 weeks from Friday, and while that sounds like a long time, you have to prepare for things like presents, family gatherings and yes, the Christmas tree.

That timeless symbol of the holidays can be yours — but you need a permit, which the U.S. Forest Service began selling in some Utah districts on Thursday. Permits went on sale for Fishlake and Manti-La Sal national forests, while permits will go on sale for Ashley, Dixie and Uinta-Wasatch-Cache national forests next month.

Whether you're a veteran or novice tree harvester, you'll want to start on the forest service's website. You scroll down and click on the link for tree permits, which routes you to for the actual purchase. And both of these sites are great resources for information.

Tree Cutting Tips

  • Stay on designated roads and respect private land. Some tree cutting areas may be inaccessible after snowfall – early-season cutting is advisable.
  • Be prepared! Tree-cutters traveling through Utah's public lands should be prepared for poor road conditions or inclement weather. Make sure you have everything you need for an outdoor venture including warm clothes, food, water and safety equipment.
  • Let someone know where you'll be going and when you plan to return. If you get stranded, call for help and stay with your group and vehicle until help arrives.
  • Please dispose of trees properly. Consider composting or using the tree as firewood, if those are options available to you.
  • Keep in mind that hunting seasons are usually open during these times, so wearing bright colors is advisable.
  • Some of the basics before you head out: No cutting trees taller than 20 feet and the diameter should be at least 5 inches.
  • No tree topping, meaning you have to cut down the whole tree, not like Kevin Macalister in Home Alone.
  • Cell service may be spotty so have a plan, and check the forecast before you go because it's going to be cold.
  • Take a map with you as well, which can be found on the forest service's website.

Permits are available online now.

Dan Spindle


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