National Forest Christmas tree permits now available

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The holiday season is fast approaching and National Forest Christmas tree permits are now available for a cost of $5 at all Lolo National Forest offices with a limit of three permits per household.

Cash and personal check payments will be accepted at all office locations; however, credit cards are only accepted at Missoula and Ninemile Ranger Stations.

Also, new for this season, the Missoula Ranger District and Lolo National Forest Supervisor’s Office will be taking permit orders over the phone from Nov. 14-Dec. 13. Permits purchased over the phone will be mailed to the specified address within 1-3 business days. Please call 406-329-3894 for all phone orders. The Missoula Ranger District will also offer extended hours on Dec. 2-5 and will be open until 5:30 p.m., and will be open Saturday, Dec. 14 from 10 a.m. – 3 p.m.

Permits may also be conveniently purchased at these vendor locations, most vendors can only accept cash or check:

• Conoco Feed & Fuel, 1201 Main St, Thompson Falls, MT 59873

• Murdoch’s, 2801 W Broadway St, Missoula, MT 59808

• Cabela’s, 3650 Brooks St, Missoula, MT 59801

• Bob Ward’s, 3015 Paxson St, Missoula, MT 59801

• Bronc’s Grocery, 16640 Beckwith St, Frenchtown, MT 59834

• Clinton Market, 20500 Old Hwy 10, Clinton, MT 59825

The Lolo National Forest is pleased to support the Every Kid Outdoors program and provide one free Christmas tree permit to every fourth grade student.

Fourth graders must present a valid EKO pass or paper voucher at their local Forest Service office (not vendors) to receive their free permit. To obtain the pass or paper voucher, fourth graders need to visit www.everykidoutdoors.gov.

“Harvesting a National Forest Christmas tree for the holiday season is a long-standing tradition on the Lolo National Forest,” said Kate Jerman, Lolo National Forest spokesperson. “We encourage fourth graders and parents to take advantage of the free Christmas tree permit program. We are also pleased to continue our partnerships with community vendors by offering additional and convenient permit purchase locations.”

The hunt for the perfect Christmas tree can be a fun, festive way to begin the holiday season. Here are some tips for a great Christmas tree cutting experience:

• Be aware of changing weather as well as road and snow conditions;

• Carry the right gear like a map, proper footwear, and cold weather attire;

• Bring the right tools: a hand-saw for cutting the tree and a shovel for removing snow around the base of the tree.

Please observe these regulations when cutting your Christmas tree:

• Do not cut trees from plantations or within developed recreation areas, campgrounds or the following areas: Blue Mountain or the Rattlesnake National Recreation Area;

• Please adhere to the local regulations prior to cutting your tree. It is your responsibility to know where you can and cannot harvest National Forest Christmas trees;

• Do not leave branches on the stump and trim the stump to no more than five inches above the soil.

• Do not cut the tops off of trees and do not cut down trees taller than 12 feet.

• Do not cut trees within 150 feet of riparian areas (creeks or streams) or within Wilderness Areas.

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