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‘Tis the season… to cut your Christmas tree!

Family cutting down Christmas tree
KTVZ file

And this year, you can buy permits online

BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- It's the most wonderful time of the year to visit your national forest and find the perfect Christmas tree for your home!

Starting this week, Christmas tree permits can be purchased or redeemed at Deschutes and Ochoco National Forest offices and vendor locations around Central Oregon.

Additionally, both forests are part of a unique pilot project that allows the public to purchase permits online from a desktop or mobile device. Visit https://openforest.fs.usda.gov to buy and print your permit from the comfort of your home! Permits can be purchased now through December 25, 2020. Permits will need to be printed to be valid.

Individual Christmas tree permits are $5 each and can be purchased or redeemed on weekdays from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the Deschutes or Ochoco Supervisor or District Offices and a number of Central Oregon retailers.

Additionally, the Deschutes National Forest headquarters office at 63095 Deschutes Market Road in Bend will be open on December 7 and 14 from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. for the sale of permits and holiday gift items. The Ochoco National Forest headquarters at 3160 NE 3rd Street in Prineville will be open Dec. 7, 14 and 21 from 9am to 1pm to purchase Christmas tree permits. As always, permits are also available at several commercial outlets across Central Oregon. Each household can purchase a maximum of five permits.

As part of the national Every Kid Outdoors initiative, all fourth graders are eligible for a free Christmas tree permit from their local national forest. In order for students to receive a free tree permit, they must present a valid paper voucher printed from the Every Kid Outdoors website at a Forest Service location.

•             Step 1: Visit https://everykidoutdoors.gov/index.htm and follow instructions to obtain the paper voucher.

•             Step 2: Print out the paper voucher.

•             Step 3:  Bring the paper voucher to a National Forest office to claim the free permit

The Every Kid Outdoors initiative is a national program to encourage children to visit national parks, forests, and public lands. As part of the effort, all fourth graders in the country can obtain a paper pass for free entry into all federal lands and waters by visiting https://everykidoutdoors.gov/index.htm. The Forest Service Every Kid events in November and December emphasize recreating on National Forests and Grasslands, winter sports, and holiday tree permits. Find your nearest national forest office.

Christmas Tree Guidance

•                     Check the weather forecast and road conditions before traveling.

•                     Dress for the season. Always be prepared for the cold and snow.

•                     Start tree hunting early in the day to have plenty of daylight hours.

•                     Bring emergency supplies, including water and food and a first-aid kit.

•                     Remember to tell someone where you are going.

•                     Bring a map and compass. Your cell phone may not work on many forests.

•                     The tree you choose must be at least 200 feet from main roads, recreation sites and campgrounds, and stay away from areas along the sides of streams, rivers, lakes, and wet areas. Check with the ranger district for the proper distance.

•                     Select a tree with a trunk six inches or less in diameter and prepare to cut the tree no more than six inches above ground level.

•                     Never cut a tall tree just for the top.

•                     Select a tree from overstocked areas and thickets. Watch restricted areas. Cut only one tree per tag. 

•                     Attach your tree tag to harvested tree before placing in vehicle.

•                     Bring a rope and tarp to move your tree from the harvest area to your vehicle.

•                     Remember, you are responsible for your own safety and for the safety of those around you.

Community

KTVZ News Team

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