Christmas tree permits available

Christmas tree permits are now available on the Lolo and Flathead National Forests. Permits are $5 per tree with a three tree limit per household.

Permits on the Lolo are available at all District offices. Permits may also be purchased at Murdoch’s in Missoula, Bronc’s Grocery in Frenchtown, the Clinton Market east of Missoula, Conoco Feed and Fuel in Thompson Falls and the Bureau of Land Management Missoula Field Office, located at 3255 Fort Missoula Road.

The Lolo National Forest Supervisor’s Office and Missoula Ranger District, located at 24 Fort Missoula Rd., will extend hours for permit sales, including two Saturdays – Dec. 1st and Dec. 8th -- from 10 a.m. - 3 p.m.

The Flathead National Forest is one of four National Forests participating in offering permits online through the Open Forest system. This program allows residents to purchase a 2018 Christmas tree permit from the internet or using a mobile device, instead of traveling to a Forest Service office. Christmas tree permits purchased online will have to be printed to be valid, and are only valid for trees harvested from the Flathead National Forest.

Learn how to purchase a permit and gather a Christmas tree online at Traditional Christmas tree permits will still be available at local Forest Service offices, or participating vendors.

As part of the national Every Kid in a Park initiative, all fourth graders are eligible for one free Christmas tree permit. For students to receive the free tree permit, they must print out an Every Kid in a Park pass from, follow the instructions on the website and print out the voucher. Bring the voucher to a Forest Service office to claim the free tree permit. The fourth grader and an adult must be present at the time of redemption.

The Lolo National Forest’s restrictions for cutting a Christmas tree include:

• Do not cut trees from plantations or within developed recreation areas, campgrounds or the following areas: Pattee Canyon, Blue Mountain or the Rattlesnake recreation area.

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

• Do not cut tops off of trees.

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

Restrictions on the Flathead National Forest include:

• Cutting is prohibited in plantations, previously thinned stands of trees, timber sale areas, or areas posted as closed to Christmas Tree cutting.

• Harvested tree must be at least 200 feet away from main roads, recreation sites and campgrounds and 300 feet away from streams, rivers or lakes.

• The tree stump must be less than four inches in diameter.

• Remaining stumps should be eight inches in height or less.

• Cut the leftover branches from the stump and scatter them.

• Tree-topping is prohibited. Cut down the whole tree.

• Motorized travel off designated roads and trails is prohibited. Motor Vehicle Use Maps for designated motorized roads and seasonal closures are available at all Flathead National Forest offices.

• Once your tree is cut, securely fasten the permit at the base of the tree before transporting.

• Do not remove whitebark pine trees.

For additional information please contact any of the Lolo NF Ranger District offices for tree harvesting on the Lolo. The Seeley Lake Ranger District can be reached at 406-677-2233.

For more information about the Christmas tree program on the Flathead National Forest, please call 406-758-5204.


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