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Going natural: Christmas tree-cutting permits go on sale from Deschutes, Ochoco national forests

Cutting your own Christmas tree in the forest can be an enjoyable family trip
Cutting your own Christmas tree in the forest can be an enjoyable family trip

Free tree permits available for fourth-graders through 'Every Kid Outdoors' initiative

BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- The Deschutes and Ochoco National Forests have begun selling permits to cut Christmas trees from Central Oregon's national forest lands.

Beginning Thursday, the public can purchase Christmas tree permits at Forest Service offices, online, and from local vendors around Central Oregon for use on the Deschutes and Ochoco National Forests.

Christmas tree permits for the 2023 season will be available for purchase online at They are $5.00 per permit, with an additional $2.50 reservation fee. Christmas tree permits purchased online must be printed to be valid.

Traditional, in-person Christmas tree permits will be available at Forest Service offices and several participating local vendors ( Individual Christmas tree permits are $5 each and households can purchase a maximum of five permits.

Fourth-graders are eligible for a free Christmas tree permit as part of the Every Kid Outdoors initiative, a national program to encourage children to visit national parks, forests, and public lands. To be eligible for the free tree permit, the student must have an Every Kid Outdoors pass. Information about getting the Every Kid Outdoors pass can be found at

Students using the Every Kid Outdoors voucher can obtain their free Christmas tree permit by visiting a Forest Service office or on The student should check the box indicating they have a pass and enter the pass or voucher number (a $2.50 reservation fee will be applied). To learn more, please visit:

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.

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

For more information regarding Christmas tree permits, please visit the Deschutes National Forest website ( or the Ochoco National Forest website (

Article Topic Follows: Central Oregon

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