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Starting Nov. 21, you can cut a Christmas tree in White Mountain National Forest 

  • Pieropan Christmas Tree Farm Staff Photo/Andy Castillo

  • Pieropan Christmas Tree Farm Staff Photo/Andy Castillo


Monitor staff
Thursday, November 08, 2018

It’s a little early to be thinking about Christmas trees – but if you are, you can think about cutting a wild tree from the White Mountain National Forest.

As it has done for many years, the National Forest Service is selling permits to allow people to cut Christmas trees in most national forests, including the White Mountains. Permits cost $5 and are available beginning Nov. 21, the day before Thanksgiving.

In New Hampshire, permits can be bought with cash or check only – no credit cards, no Venmo – at Forest Service offices in Campton, Lincoln, Gorham and Conway. It’s suggested that you call ahead to make sure permits are being sold.

This year, a free holiday tree cutting permit will be issued to fourth-graders who present a valid Every Kid in a Park pass; more information can be found at everykidinapark.gov.

Several different types of evergreen grow in the White Mountain National Forest. Many people prefer the balsam fir because of fragrance and needle retention. Others prefer the spruce because of the fullness of the branches and the classic shape.

“Keep in mind that a wild tree may not have the perfect appearance of a commercial tree. Be prepared to do some real searching,” the Forest Service noted in its official release. “Just remember, they look smaller in the woods than they are in your living room!”

There are constraints on the program, including:

■Trees are for personal use only, not for resale. One Christmas tree can be cut per family.

■Only hand tools can be used. Chainsaws are not permitted.

■Make sure you are on National Forest land.

■Do not cut trees in or near campgrounds, picnic areas, Experimental Forests, Wilderness, timber sale areas, or within 100 feet of a state highway. When you purchase the permit ask if there are any known “off limit” areas.

■Do not cut trees larger than 8 inches in diameter at chest height. Pack down limb piles low enough so they are no taller than 2 feet off the ground. Scatter limbs and wood at least 25 feet away from roads, streams, hiking trails and property boundaries.

■Cut your tree so remaining stumps will be less than 10 inches in height.

■Attach your tree tag after cutting and before transporting your tree.

For permits and office hours, visit fs.usda.gov/whitemountain.

(David Brooks can be reached at 369-3313 or dbrooks@cmonitor.com.)