ST. GEORGE — It’s beginning to feel a lot like winter, and the chill in the air has a lot of Utah residents thinking about Christmas.
The Bureau of Land Management and the U.S. Forest Service will begin selling Christmas tree permits for non-commercial use to Southern Utah residents Monday, according to a press release from the Utah state office. Other offices will begin selling permits Tuesday through Nov. 18.
BLM Christmas tree permits allow most residents to harvest pinyon pine and juniper trees, but a select number of locations — including Cedar City — allow for white fir trees, as well.
The Kaibab National Forest in Arizona will also be selling Christmas tree permits for each of its three ranger districts beginning Nov. 18 to allow residents to enjoy a popular holiday tradition, according to a press release from the National Forest Service. The National Forest Service has a total of 1,800 available tags, which they are selling over-the-counter and through the mail for $15 each.
The permit allows residents to cut a tree that is no more than 10 feet tall between Nov. 18 and Dec. 24. The permit can only be used to cut a tree within the ranger district from which it was purchased unless specifically noted.
Residents with Christmas tree permits will also be provided with a map from the National Forest Service to show their designated cutting area and outline additional tree-cutting instructions.
Fourth-grade students are eligible for a free Christmas tree permit through the Every Kid Outdoors initiative. All fourth-grade students are able to receive an Every Kid Outdoors pass that allows free access to federal lands and waters across the country for a full year.
To support the initiative, the Kaibab National Forest is offering free Christmas tree permits to interested fourth-grade students with an Every Kid Outdoors pass or paper voucher. Students must be accompanied by a parent or guardian and present their fourth-grade pass or paper voucher to receive the permit.
BLM spokesperson Rachel Wootton told St. George News that Christmas tree permits allow families to enjoy part of the public lands near their home during the holidays.
“Christmas tree permits are great because they’re a service to the public,” she said. “Many people love to have a tree that’s from public lands that is close to where they live, maybe close to where they live or an area they have a connection to.”
Wootton said through permitting, the BLM ensures residents can access resources in a way that is good for them and for public lands.
Officials are advising residents interested in cutting their own tree from public lands to get an early start as winter weather conditions make mountain terrain unpredictable, and locations with trees can become inaccessible after it snows.
Slick and snowy roads are expected, so officials are also asking residents to carry snow chains with them while looking for the perfect tree. Vehicles with four-wheel drive and snow machines are also necessary in some locations.
Due to dangerous and uncertain weather conditions, the BLM has also advised that those looking for the perfect Christmas tree should let someone know where they are planning to go and when they estimate they will be home. As most hunting seasons are open during this time, it is also important for those looking for a tree to wear bright colors to remain visible.
It is equally important to carry a cell phone and bring additional warm clothing, gloves, boots, water and food. Officials are also urging people to carry a flashlight, shovel, first-aid kit, matches, axe or handsaw, and a rope to secure the tree once it has been chosen.
The BLM also asks that residents properly dispose of their trees once the holidays are over. Wootton said Christmas trees are perfect for firewood, composting or other at-home projects after all the presents have been opened.
BLM permits can be obtained Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. for $10 per permit. This does not include federal holidays, and there is a limit of two permits per household. Purchases must be made in person, and at the time of purchase, the BLM will provide residents with maps of local public lands.
Christmas tree permits are available at the following locations and can be used on any district in the Dixie National Forest.
Pine Valley Ranger District (435) 688-3200 – Permits will be available November 4 and can be purchased at the Public Information Center located at 345 East Riverside Drive, St. George Utah 84790, Monday through Friday 7:45 a.m. – 5 p.m. and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. The Public Information Center can only accept Cash or Check for Forest Service permits. Only Pinyon Pine and Juniper tree species may be cut.
Cedar City Ranger District (435) 865-3700 – Permits will be available November 4 and can be purchased at the Cedar City Ranger District office located at 1789 N Wedgewood Ln., Cedar City, UT 84721, Monday through Friday 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. Permits are $10.00 for a tree up to 10 feet and $20.00 for a tree 11 feet to 20 feet. Only White Fir, Subalpine Fir, Pinyon Pine and Juniper tree may be cut.
Powell Ranger District: (435) 676-9300 – Permits will be available November 4 and can be purchased at the Powell Ranger District office, 225 East Center Street, Panguitch, Utah from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. Permits are $10.00 for a tree up to 10 feet and $20.00 for a tree 11 feet to 20 feet. All species of trees can be cut, except bristlecone pine.
Escalante Ranger District: (435) 826-5400 – Permits will be available November 4 and can be purchased at the Escalante Interagency Visitor Center at, 755 West Main, Escalante, Utah from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. Permits are also available from vendors in the towns of Antimony, Tropic, Escalante and Boulder. Contact the Escalante Ranger District for vendor locations. Permits are $10.00 for a tree up to 10 feet and $20.00 for a tree 11 feet to 20 feet. All species of trees can be cut, except bristlecone pine.
Permits can also be purchased at:
- Hurst Ace Hardware at 165 S Main St, Cedar City
- Cottam’s 66 Station, 79 East Main, Escalante
- Clarke’s Country Market, 141 North Main, Tropic
- Antimony Merc, 10 North Hwy 22, Antimony (starting Nov. 13)
- Hall’s Store, 425 North Hwy 12, Boulder
Each permit is valid to cut one tree and must be validated by completely filling in required information on the permit. The permit must then be secured to the tree trunk between the limbs in a place visible during transport of the tree from the forest.
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