Christmas Tree Permits in Montana

Korner6

Well-known member
Aug 28, 2023
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Did you ever think you would need a permit to cut down a Christmas tree? I know there are Christmas tree farms all over the US and they charge a fee, but this is the first time I've heard about needing a tree permit. The cost is really low though, so that is at least a good thing! I wonder how many other places require a permit for this?

https://www.fs.usda.gov/detail/hlcnf/passes-permits/forestproducts/?cid=fseprd832610
Christmas Tree Permits can be obtained at Recreation.gov online or at your local Forest Service office from Mid-October through December 31st. A permit allows an individual to cut up to three (3) Christmas trees in designated areas. Permits for the Christmas Tree are $5/tree, and there is a service fee charged if you order online.
 
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I am not someone who is from the US but this is the first time I have heard about needing a permit to cut down a Christmas tree! I believe cutting down your own Christmas trees to use for the festive period is quite popular in the US but never heard of someone needing a permit until now.

It being a low cost though will mean people will be more willing to pay the price to be able to cut down a Christmas tree if they wish.
 
That is interesting. For some people, harvesting a Christmas tree is a fundamental part of their Christmas tradition so I can definitely understand the demand for this! In most parts of the country, it's true there are Christmas tree farms you can go to, but for some people I'm sure it adds to the tradition of it all to be able to go out onto wild forest land and pick/cut down the tree yourself.

I'm noticing, though, that the page you linked is for permitting within the Helena-Lewis and Clark National Forest in Montana...so there's obviously a limited number of people who even live in close enough proximity of this forest to be able to take advantage of these permits. It seems like anyone really interested in a Christmas tree permit probably needs to contact their local Forest Service District office - or check their District's website - to see if such permits are actually available to them.

For example, the National Forest closest to me is Cleveland National Forest. They appear to offer permits for botanical collecting and firewood collecting but there's nothing on their website about Christmas tree permits, so it doesn't look harvesting a Christmas tree on Forest Service land is an option for me 🤷‍♂️.
 
I honestly never knew you had to get a permit to chop down a Christmas tree! To be fair, my family never used fresh Christmas trees during the Holidays. We have cats, and I don't think it's a good idea to have a fresh one in the house since my cat might chew on the pine needles. Thankfully the fee isn't too expensive for a permit. I know many families enjoy the tradition of chopping down a fresh evergreen tree for the Holidays. :)
 
I wouldn't say that it is absurd to get a permit to cut the Christmas tree, but I guess that there are events that must have made the government in Montana take such decision. It is worth it doing things the right way as long as it doesn't affect the rights of others. So, getting a Christmas tree permit before cutting down those trees is one that other states should look into working on too.
 
I completely understand the need for getting a permit to cut down a Christmas tree and that's probably what the government in Montana looks at as well. It's basically them not encouraging deforestation because some people can be very inconsiderate when it comes to how they chop down trees for their own personal gains. The permit will make it that only what's needed are cut down. The trees are home to wild life too.
 
The idea of needing a permit to cut down a Christmas tree might seem surprising, given the holiday tradition. While it's unusual, it's essential to ensure sustainable practices and maintain safety in forests. The low cost is a silver lining, but it raises questions about similar requirements elsewhere.
 
The idea of needing a permit to cut down a Christmas tree might seem surprising, given the holiday tradition. While it's unusual, it's essential to ensure sustainable practices and maintain safety in forests. The low cost is a silver lining, but it raises questions about similar requirements elsewhere.

Seriously, it's not surprising to me at all being that industrialization have almost depleted our nature. Most trees within our living close proximity have all been cut down for industrial purposes and real estate. Our ecosystem have been badly affected by this act, hence the need for this sort of permit.
 
I'm actually surprised that there are still wild trees that could be viewed as Christmas trees to be cut down in the forest still. I thought Christmas trees had to be farmed and specially grown in order to take on the Christmas tree shape of the cut trees in big box stores.

Most pine and fir trees out in the wild that I've seen are huge, so the would-be Christmas tree choppers who buy these permits may have a time finding a tree of the right size and shape to cut. I guess that's the fun of the tradition.
 
Most pine and fir trees out in the wild that I've seen are huge, so the would-be Christmas tree choppers who buy these permits may have a time finding a tree of the right size and shape to cut. I guess that's the fun of the tradition.

The Helena-Lewis and Clark National Forest's Recreation.gov site for these permits lists some restrictions on the trees you can select (e.g., 12-foot maximum height). There are also a bunch of safety warnings such as "Start your day early. Be sure to find your tree and leave the woods before dark." You obviously can't comb a whole forest in search of the perfect Christmas tree just anywhere in the U.S. But for people who can take advantage of these permits (people living near the National Forest in Montana in this example), undertaking this kind of Christmas tree expedition does appear to be a big part of the tradition of it all.
 

For further information on this GPT, visit the U.S. National/Federal GPT page.

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