Christmas tree cutting

The Bureau of Land Management is now issuing Christmas tree permits.

The National Forest and Bureau of Land Management are offering Christmas tree cutting permits starting this month for families to march around in the backcountry and find that perfect holiday tree.

If you have a fourth-grader in your house, the Every Kid Outdoors program provides one free Christmas tree cutting permit for every valid Every Kid Outdoor pass.

“We are super stoked about being able to do online permits,” said Caribou-Targhee National Forest spokeswoman Sarah Wheeler via text.

Permits to cut Christmas trees up to 20 feet high cost $15 — one per household — and can be found online at fs.usda.gov/detail/ctnf/passes-permits/forestproducts or by going to recreation.gov.

“We are excited to offer online purchasing this year,” said Tom Silvey, timber program manager at Caribou-Targhee. “We decided to offer online sales as an added convenience for visitors and because it provides an attractive alternative to in-person transactions at offices that remain closed to walk-in business due to the COVID-19 pandemic.”

The Forest Service website also includes safety information, maps on where it’s permissible to cut trees and how to care for your tree.

Permits and maps are also available through local ranger district offices and participating vendor locations. District offices include Dubois (208-374-5422), Ashton (208-652-7443), Teton Basin (208-354-2312), Palisades Idaho Falls (208-523-1412), Soda Springs (208-547-4356), and West Side Pocatello (208-236-7500).

Bureau of Land Management information can be found by calling the Idaho Falls office at 208-524-7500 or the Pocatello office at 208-478-6340.

“Households that purchase a Christmas tree permit are encouraged to harvest their trees as soon as possible due to weather conditions,” Wheeler said in a news release. “Mountain snowstorms and subsequent road conditions can limit access to cutting areas. The earlier folks cut their trees, the greater the chances of getting into areas where previous year cuttings have limited the number and selection of trees.”

The Every Kid Outdoors offer can only be validated through the local Forest Service or recreation.gov site. The Every Kid in a Park initiative allows fourth-graders to go to the Every Kid in the Park website and obtain a pass for free entry for them and their families to more than 2,000 federally managed lands and waters for an entire year starting Sept. 1, 2020.