Christmas Tree permits available for Wallowa Whitman Forest

EASTERN OREGON – ‘Tis the season to search for the perfect tree!  Whether you celebrate Christmas, enjoy holiday decorating, or just need an excuse to take a walk in the woods, the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest has a tree with your name on it – provided you have a permit. 

Christmas tree permits can be purchased online at Recreation.gov. Please visit  https://www.recreation.govand search for the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest. Permits are also available at the locations listed in our 2020 Christmas Tree Brochure. Please remember that permits are valid only on National Forest lands and do not authorize tree cutting on private, state, or other federally managed lands. Please see the brochure for the rules and several helpful tips to successfully cut, transport, and care for your tree. 

“For a growing number of people, heading into the National Forest and tracking down the ideal Christmas tree has become a family holiday tradition,” said Forest Supervisor, Tom  Montoya. To preserve the scenic and natural resource values of your forest, we ask for your cooperation by complying with the regulations listed in our 2020 Christmas Tree  Brochure. Thank you and Happy Holidays to all.” 

Free Christmas tree permits are available to fourth-grade students with a valid pass from the national “Every Kid Outdoors” program. Students can visit https://everykidoutdoors.gov/ and follow the instructions to obtain and print their pass. After that, they will need to call their local National Forest office for further guidance to get a free Christmas tree permit. 

Tips for a safer experience 

• Always let someone else know where you plan to cut, and when you plan to return. • Bring extra warm layers for everyone, including coats, hats, gloves, and socks. Wear warm boots too. 

• Pack a thermos of hot liquid, water, lunch or a few snacks as it always takes longer than expected. 

• Bring a map, compass or GPS device, flashlight, fire-starter kit, first aid kit, and rope to tie your tree down. 

• Charge phones and other emergency communication devices in advance; then keep them warm in an inner coat pocket to maintain battery life.  

• Bring tire chains for mountain roads and a sturdy shovel in case your vehicle gets stuck in the snow. 

• For fire safety in your home, keep your tree away from heat and avoid blocking exits.  Never use lighted candles or open flames near a tree or other evergreen decorations. Use decorations that are non-flammable or flame-retardant.  

Helpful hints 

• Carry your tree carefully out of the woods. Dragging the tree will rub off needles and bark. If the tree is too big to transport in the trunk of your vehicle, wrap it in canvas to prevent  wind damage. 

• Once home, cut the bottom of the trunk off and place the freshly cut trunk in a bucket of water. Replenish water frequently. 

Rules for cutting Christmas trees on the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest • Permit holders are required to follow the terms of their permit. For details, please read the complete Christmas Tree Brochure available online and at National Forest offices. • Cut your tree at least 50 feet away from a road and clean up any trimmings or limbs. • Leave stumps no higher than 10 inches. It is illegal to “top” a tree. 

• Cut all green limbs from the stump (they can be used for decorating). • The maximum height of a tree to be cut is 15 feet tall, with no larger than a 6-inch stump diameter. 

• Do not cut in active timber sale areas or areas planted with new trees. Do no cut on private land, in wilderness areas, designated campgrounds, or existing tree plantations. • Do not cut trees in the following areas: Baker City Watershed; Anthony Lakes Campground or Ski Area; Starkey Experimental Forest; La Grande Watershed; Hurricane  Creek and Lostine drainages. 

• Do not cut trees in posted Old Growth Areas or within ¼ mile of Wild and Scenic River corridors. 

• Christmas tree cutting is also prohibited within sight distance of State Highways. 

Please call your nearest National Forest office for more information • Whitman Ranger District / Wallowa-Whitman National Forest Headquarters: 1550 Dewey Avenue, Baker City, OR 97814 or (541) 523-6391 

• La Grande Ranger District: 3502 Highway 30, La Grande, OR 97850 or (541) 962-8500 • Wallowa Mountains Office: 201 East Second Street, Joseph, OR 97846 or (541) 426-5546

• Hells Canyon National Recreation Area Offices:  

− 2535 Riverside Drive, Clarkston, WA 99403 or (509) 758-0616 

− 1339 Highway 95 South, Riggins, ID 83549 or (208) 628-3916