BOZEMAN – Christmas tree permits for Custer-Gallatin National Forest are available online now through recreation.gov. Permits for the 2021 holiday season are free again, (usually a $5.00/tree per permit, limit 3). A small transaction fee is associated with the online platform. Fourth graders, through Every Kid Outdoors, can also obtain a free permit through Recreation.gov. This fast and easy online option is strongly recommended, as it was created to provide convenience for the public, in addition to reducing the risk of exposure to COVID-19 for the public and our employees. Local vendors will no longer carry permits and district offices will have limited availability, please call ahead to your local district for any in-person requests.
“The long tradition of heading into the snowy woods to cut a Christmas tree, creates cherished memories,” said Mariah Leuschen-Lonergan, acting Custer Gallatin National Forest public affairs officer. “Every tree that is cut, with friends and family connects to a story and memory, we hope these memories continue or families start a new tradition, connecting with their local forests.”
This time-honored custom also benefits general forest health by removing smaller trees from the forest, which promotes growth in larger trees and benefits wildlife by creating increased open spaces for foraging.
To purchase a Christmas Tree permit, visit recreation.gov and search for Custer Gallatin National Forest Christmas Tree Permits: https://www.recreation.gov/tree-permits. It’s important to carefully read the overview and need-to-know information prior to purchasing the permit. Visitors will also need to set up or login to a recreation.gov account to complete the transaction. Permits are good forest-wide and region-wide except at cabins, campgrounds, picnic areas, trailheads, wilderness or riparian areas, natural landmarks, active timber sales and areas where trees have been planted for reforestation purposes. Be sure to download a local forest map, low stump your tree by cutting the tree as close to the ground as possible. Trees should be less than 12 feet in length and avoid “topping” trees; choose an appropriate size tree.
Before heading out for your day trip, know where you are going and consult the Custer Gallatin National Forest Motor Vehicle Use Maps to know which roads are open. Check your local weather and be properly prepared as winter-like weather conditions can change rapidly, as can driving conditions. Always be respectful of others and pack out any trash. We thank you for caring for your national forest and recreating responsibly! If you have further questions, please visit recreation.gov, call (877) 444-6777 or contact your local district office. General Forest information is available at: fs.usda.gov/custergallatin.