Permits for cutting your own Christmas tree in the Medicine Bow-Routt National Forests are now available.

Each permit costs $10 and allows for the cutting on one tree on National Forest System Lands. There is a limit of five permits per household.

Aaron Voos with the U.S. Forest Service, says that the cost of the permit does not make much money for the forest service, but does help them with some of their own costs.

“Really all we’re doing is trying to get an idea of how many people are actually doing that and then just trying to cover any costs that may be associated with it,” says Aaron Voos. “So the forest service certainly doesn’t make any money on it, but it does help cover some of our costs.”

Trees chopped with these permits are for personal use only and may not be used for resale. The permit must be displayed clearly around the stem of the tree before leaving the cutting area.

There are some areas in the forest that are off limits to tree cutting or may be difficult to access. The cutting of trees is prohibited in all Wilderness Areas on the Medicine Bow-Routt National Forests. Tree cutting is also prohibited in the Pole Mountain Unit of the Laramie Ranger District. For specific site information, contact the Ranger District in the area were you will be cutting your tree. They will be able to provide you with information on roads and restricted areas.

The Forest service warns that the threat of falling trees continues to increase. They ask that visitors pay special attention to their surroundings and weather forecasts and avoid areas with beetle-killed trees on particularly windy days.

The Forest Service asks people to remember these  tree cutting regulations when cutting a Christmas tree:

  • Trees may not be cut within 100 feet of roads or within 200 feet of campgrounds, picnic areas, scenic pullouts, administrative sites, timber sale areas or designated Wilderness areas.  Distances may be greater for state highways and scenic byways, contact district offices for details.
  • Visitors are encouraged to choose a tree that is growing with other trees in a cluster and not choose the “perfect” tree that stands alone. The forest environment benefits by thinning the clusters and allowing the strong trees to remain and provide for a healthy genetic source for the future forest.
  • Maximum tree height is 20 feet.
  • Maximum tree diameter is six inches at the stump.
  • Cut the tree to a stump height of six inches or less, or below the lowest living branch, whichever is lower. If one living branch is left on the stump, the tree will continue to grow, although it will probably become deformed and encourage disease.
  • If boughs are wanted, please choose a taller tree than needed (maximum 20 feet) and use the lower branches for boughs. Please do not cut boughs from other living trees.

For more information and alternate sales locations, contact your local Forest Service office or click here.