Plan a family outing to pick out a tree!
With many annual festivities altered or postponed, locating the family tree is a great chance to keep the spirit alive. Christmas tree permits are available online this year at www.recreation.gov/tree-permits (search ‘Custer Gallatin’ or ‘Montana’). Limit of three.
Those with a permit may cut a Christmas tree anywhere on the Custer Gallatin National Forest except at cabins, campgrounds, picnic areas, trailheads, wilderness or riparian areas, natural landmarks, timber sales and areas where trees have been planted for reforestation purposes.
General guidelines for cutting a tree include:
– Stump height: 6 inches maximum (lower the better)
– Do not remove the top of the tree; cut down the entire tree
– No cutting of 5 needle pines (i.e. 5 needles in one cluster)
– Limber Pine and White Bark Pine trees are NOT permitted; If unsure, please check with your local ranger district about tree species identification and restrictions
– If snow is on the ground, remove it from around the stump so you can accurately measure the stump and tree height
– Be Alert! There are many dead and dying trees that could fall at the slightest disturbance
– Trees help protect watersheds, provide habitat for wildlife, and contribute to beautiful scenery; keep these values in mind when selecting a tree
– After cutting your tree, attach the purchased permit to a lower limb near the trunk for transporting home
– A permit can also be purchased for gathering personal-use boughs, but no cutting from Hemlock or Cedars. Permits, maps, forest road access updates and more are available through the website
– When preparing for the day, dress in layers for changing weather conditions, grab a snack and water, always let another know where you are headed and enjoy spending time outdoors with friends and family
For more information, please contact any Custer Gallatin National Forest office. For general forest information, visit www.fs.usda.gov/custergallatin. •