Guide to cutting your own Christmas tree

Young boy carrying his Christmas tree, location and date unspecified | Photo courtesy of the U.S. Forest Service, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — Holiday tradition for many people includes cutting their own Christmas trees. Permits are now available in most ranger districts for national forests in Utah. Below are details and conditions for obtaining permits in Utah’s national forests.

General conditions for cutting trees in the national forests

Trees must always be cut close to the ground leaving the stump no higher than 6 inches. A shovel will come in handy to dig through the snow to reach the base of the tree. Make sure your permit is attached to the tree before leaving the cutting area. Tree topping is not allowed.

No cutting is allowed within 200 feet of riparian areas (lakes and streams), roads, campgrounds, picnic areas, administrative sites, summer home areas or within designated closed areas shown on tree cutting area maps.

Other conditions apply as specified below along with locations to purchase Christmas tree cutting permits.

  • Dixie National Forest | 435-865-3700 | website | permits available now
    • Cedar City Ranger District | 435-865-3700
      • Cedar City Ranger District office, Cedar City | 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Friday | 435-865-3700
      • Hurst Ace Hardware Store, Cedar City | 8 a.m.-9 p.m. Monday-Friday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Sunday
      • Conditions: Permits are $10 for a tree up to 10 feet and $20 for a tree 11-20 feet; one permit per household and two trees maximum. The only species of trees that can be cut are sub-alpine fir, white fir, Juniper and pinyon pine.
    • Escalante Ranger District 435-826-5400
      • Escalante Ranger District office, Escalante | 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Monday-Friday
      • Antimony Merc, Antimony | 8 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday-Sunday | 435-625-3253
      • Other permit vendors may apply, call the ranger district office
      • Conditions: $10, one permit per household, one tree only. All species of tree may be cut, except bristlecone pine.
    • Powell Ranger District 435-676-9300
      • Powell Ranger District office, Panguitch | 8 a.m.-4:30 pm. Monday-Friday
      • Conditions: $10.00 for a tree up to 10 feet and $20 for a tree 11-20 feet. All species of trees can be cut, except bristlecone pine.
    • St. George Interagency Visitor Center | 435-688-3246 or 435-652-3100
      • Visitor Center, St. George | 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Friday, 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturdays
      • Veyo Mercantile, Veyo | 6 a.m.-9 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 6 a.m.-10 p.m. Friday-Saturday
      • Conditions: $10, Pinyon pine and juniper are the only species of trees that may be cut. One individual may purchase up to five tags.
  • Ashley National Forest | 435-789-1181 | website | permits available now
    • Flaming Gorge Ranger District | 435-784-3445
      • Flaming Gorge Ranger District office, Manila | 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Monday-Friday, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturdays through Nov. 29 | 435-784-3445
      • Flaming Gorge Resort, Dutch John | 8 a.m.-6 p.m. Sunday-Thursday, 8 a.m.-8 p.m. Friday and Saturday
      • Green River Chamber office, Green River, Wyoming | 8:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Mondays and Fridays only
      • Conditions: $15, nonrefundable
    • Duchesne Ranger District | 435-738-2482
      • Duchesne Ranger District Office, Duchesne | 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Monday-Friday
      • Bonanza Store, Duchesne | Open 24/7 | 435-738-2393
      • Hanna Country Store, Hanna | 8:30 a.m.-9 p.m. Monday-Saturday | 435-848-5752
      • Stewart’s Market, Roosevelt | 8:30 a.m.-9 p.m. Monday-Saturday | 435-722-5650
      • Davis Jubilee Food & Drug, Roosevelt | 6 a.m.-11 p.m. Monday-Saturday, 7 a.m.-10 p.m. Sunday | 435-722-2296
      • Conditions: $15, one permit per household
    • Vernal Ranger District | 435-789-1181
      • Vernal office, Vernal | 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Monday-Friday
      • Davis Jubilee Store, Vernal | 6 a.m.-9 p.m. Monday-Saturday, 7 a.m.-8 p.m. Sundays | 435-789-2001
      • Shirley’s Country Corner, LaPoint | 5 a.m.-7 p.m. Monday-Saturday, 6 a.m.-3 p.m. Sundays | 435-247-2690 |
      • Conditions: $15
  • Fishlake National Forest | 435-896-9233 | website | permits available now
    • Conditions for all ranger districts: $10 in person as listed below in person only. The permits must be attached to the harvested tree and remain with tree during transport. Most species of trees may be cut, except for ponderosa pine or as specifically indicated under the ranger district.
    • Richfield Ranger District | 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. | 435-896-9233
    • Fremont River Ranger District | 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Monday-Friday | 435-836-2811
      • Conditions: The Fishlake Basin Recreation Area, including Johnson Valley, is closed to tree cutting from the forest boundary on the west to Zedd’s Meadow on the east. Cutting ponderosa pine is prohibited except on the Boulder Mountain of the Fremont River Ranger District.
    • Fillmore Ranger District | 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Monday-Friday through December 21 | 435-743-5721
      • Conditions:  One permit per household | Suggested cutting areas: Whiskey Creek, John Williams Canyon, Chalk Creek, Meadow Creek, Cove Fort, Willow Creek and Wild Goose Canyon | No trees may be cut in Dry Creak and Oak Creek Canyon.
    • Beaver Ranger District | 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Friday | 435-438-2436
      • Beaver Sports and Pawn, Beaver | 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday-Saturday and 8 a.m.-6 p.m. Sunday
      • Fishlake Lumber, Beaver | 7 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday-Friday and 8 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday
      • Piute County Sheriff Office, Junction | 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Friday
      • Don’s Sinclair, Salina | Monday-Saturday
      • Larsen’s Ace Hardware, Richfield | Monday-Saturday
      • Jorgensen’s, Richfield | Monday-Saturday
      • Conditions: Blue spruce may not be cut. Tree cutting is not allowed in the Merchant Valley Summer Home area or along the visible edge of state Route 153. Ensure trees are cut on the national forest, not private land. Maps are available from the district office.
  • Manti-Lasal National Forest | website | permits available as indicated
    • Ferron/Price Ranger Districts | Available now | 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Monday-Friday in Ferron, 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Friday in Price | 435-384-2372
    • Moab/Monticello Ranger Districts | Available now | 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Monday-Friday | 435-259-7155
    • Private vendors: Moab Information Center, Moab; Choice Hardware & Home Center, Nephi; Beck’s Home Furnishings, Mt. Pleasant; Rasmussen Ace Hardware, Gunnison; The Main Street Market, Ferron; and Sutherland Lumber, Price.
    • Conditions: $10, three-permit limit per person. Purchasers will need to provide a credit or debit card, check or exact change. There will be no refunds. To buy a permit for a tree taller than 12 feet, the buyer must pay 50 cents per additional foot, payable when the permit is purchased. Permits should be purchased on the district where trees will be cut.
    • The cost for permits is the same regardless of where they are purchased. Customers traveling long distances for permits should call in advance to determine if permits are still available.
  • Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forests | 801-999-2103 | website | permits available now
    • Evanston/Mt. View Ranger Districts 307-789-3194 and 307-782-6555
      • Evanston Ranger District Office, Evanston, Wyoming | 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Monday-Friday | 307-789-3194 and 307-782-2655
      • Bear River Lodge, Evanston, Wyoming | 435-642-6289
      • Mountain View Ranger District, Mountain View, Wyoming | 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Monday-Friday
      • Benedict Thriftway / True Value Store, Mountain View, Wyoming | 7 a.m.-9 p.m. Monday-Saturday, 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Sundays | 307-782-3581
      • Conditions: $10, one permit per household, one tree only. A permit allows up to a 20 foot tree, any species of tree may be cut, but lodgepole pine is the main species in the area. Access to the Mountain View Ranger District may require 4-Wheel drive or the use of snow machines, skis or snowshoes during this time of year. Please follow the district travel plan when cutting a Christmas tree.
    • Spanish Fork Ranger District | 801-798-3571 | All 400 permits allowed have been sold

For Kaibab National Forest in Arizona, see permit information here: Kaibab National Forest Christmas tree permits go on sale

Public safety precautions

The Forest Service urges people to remember that weather conditions in the mountains are unpredictable and preparation for winter weather is advised.

Stay on designated roads and trails. Be prepared for slick, snow-packed roads and have chains, a 4-wheel drive vehicle or a snow machine available. Let someone know where you are planning to go and the approximate time you will return. Carry a cell phone. Bring additional warm clothing, gloves, boots, a container of hot liquid, water and a lunch or snack. Carry a flashlight, chains, shovel, first-aid kit, matches, a hatchet, ax or handsaw and rope to secure your tree.

Read more: Stocking your vehicle for winter; what to do in case of emergency, checklist

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Copyright St. George News, LLC, 2016, all rights reserved.

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  • .... November 27, 2016 at 2:32 am

    Enjoy the Xmas Tree hunt folks have fun and be careful out there. dress properly and bring along a aid kit you never know.

    • Real Life November 27, 2016 at 5:13 pm

      Would you please get a job already?

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