The following is a press release issued by the Mendocino National Forest:
Cutting a holiday tree is a special tradition to share with family and friends, and it also helps maintain a healthy forest. Christmas tree permits are a unique opportunity for citizens to help thin densely populated stands of small-diameter trees. The Mendocino National Forest will begin selling Christmas tree permits online at Recreation.gov on Friday, Nov. 3.
To purchase a Christmas tree permit, users can visit Recreation.gov and search by forest name or use the interactive map to explore locations. Visitors will need to create or log in to a Recreation.gov account to review guidelines and purchase a permit.
A permit must be purchased, limited to one per household. On Recreation.gov, visitors have the option to purchase up to three trees. The cost for 2023 is $10 per tree, and with a $2.50 transaction fee. The number of permits is limited and will be issued on a first-come, first-served basis. Permits are good through December 31, 2023.
Persons must be at least 18 years old to purchase the permit. All Christmas tree permit sales are final; no refunds will be made. Christmas tree cutting will be allowed only in specific areas in the Mendocino National Forest.
When heading out to the forest to cut a Christmas tree, officials remind visitors to follow these important tips for a safe and enjoyable experience:
- Plan your trip and check the weather forecast.
- Bring plenty of warm clothes, water, food, tire chains, shovel, a saw or axe to cut your tree and a tarp and rope to bring it home.
- Keep vehicles on designated roads and be prepared for changing weather and road conditions. Be aware of safety hazards when travelling through a burned area.
- Remember cell phone service may be unavailable, so carry emergency equipment in vehicles.
- Cut the tree early in the season before favorite cutting areas can’t be reached because of snow.
- Make sure you are cutting a tree on the Mendocino National Forest within the designated Christmas tree cutting area and not on other federal, state or private lands.
- Cut the tree as close as possible to the ground and leave as short a stump as possible.
- Print your permit and make sure it is visible on your vehicle dashboard. If you purchase a permit in-person at one of our offices or vendors, you will receive a tag that needs to be tied to your tree when you transport it home.
Fourth graders, who participate in the Every Kid Outdoors program, are eligible for a free Christmas tree permit. The Every Kid Outdoors program introduces fourth graders to public lands in their own backyards and beyond. To receive a free permit, students or their teachers can register for passes online at https://everykidoutdoors.gov/pass.htm. Parents and guardians will need to bring the pass for in-person purchases or enter the voucher or pass number for online purchases.
Permits can be also purchased by mail or in person at the Willows or Upper Lake Ranger Stations. If purchasing in person, individuals can purchase one permit per household and one tree per permit. Several local vendors will also be selling Christmas tree permits. For a list of locations selling permits, please visit the forest website at https://bit.ly/MNF-Christmas-2023. Before making a trip to purchase a permit in person, please call the forest office or vendor ahead of time to double check hours and permit availability.