'Tis the season for Christmas tree permits
Christmas tree permits are now available from the Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management. Here’s what you need to know about the tree permits (tags):
Christmas tree tags are $5 each.
A family may purchase up to three tags.
Christmas tree tags can be used to cut trees on:
o National Forest lands in northern Idaho and Montana; and
o Bureau of Land Management (BLM) lands administered by the Coeur d’Alene District Office in northern Idaho; and by the Missoula, Butte and Dillon field offices in western Montana.
The Coeur d’Alene River Ranger District offers a “permit by mail” system. Simply print and complete the form, include a check or money order, and mail. Tree tags will be mailed the next working day after receipt of application. Form and instructions are located at http://fs.usda.gov/Internet/FSE_DOCUMENTS/fsm9_018437.pdf
Please observe these rules when cutting Christmas trees:
Know where you are! Call local agency offices to check current travel conditions before you go. Forest visitor maps and information are available at Forest Service and BLM offices. National Forest maps also are available online at: www.fs.fed.us/recreation/nationalforeststore/
Cut your tree at least 200 feet from main roads, campgrounds, recreation sites, and the Deception Creek and Priest Lake Experimental Forests. No cutting is allowed within these areas or within Wilderness, Wilderness Study Areas, National Recreation Areas and recreation sites; English Point on the Coeur d’Alene River Ranger District; or within the Wallace Forest Conservation Area.
Cut your tree at least 100 yards from streams.
Select your tree from thickets or overstocked areas. Do not remove trees from active timber sale areas, plantations, or other sparsely stocked areas. Leave isolated trees and single growing trees.
Cut only one tree per tag.
Attach the fluorescent tree tag to your tree before putting it into your vehicle.
Don’t cut large trees just to get the top! Cut the stem off below the lowest live limb or 8 inches above the ground, whichever is lower. Keep discarded tree limbs and tree sections out of roads and ditches.
On back roads, we encourage you to cut trees that are growing within the road prism (from the top of the cut bank to the bottom of the fill slope) of little-used roads. This helps to keep roads open and safe for travel.
Be prepared for cold weather and snow! Dress warmly, carry extra food and hot drinks, and always let someone know your travel plans including destination and expected time of arrival back home. Start your tree hunting adventure early in the day while there’s still plenty of daylight. Be sure to carry tire chains as most backcountry roads are not plowed. Cell phone coverage also is limited in many areas.