Cutting your own Christmas tree is a special holiday tradition for many Montanans.
But in order to take a tree from a national forest, you need to have a Christmas tree permit.
Those are available starting November 13 and can be purchased for $5 at any Forest Service office or at authorized retailers.
Fourth graders can get FREE permits through the Every Kid in a Park national initiative. Click HERE to participate in the free holiday tree program,
The Bitterroot National Forest is also offering advice to people who want to cut down their own tree:
- Taking a tree from an overcrowded area will give the remaining trees more space, moisture and light to grow.
- Cutting is not allowed in restricted areas such as developed recreation sites and campgrounds, existing timber sale areas or previously thinned areas.
- Please do not cut out the top of a tree or leave a stump higher than eight inches.
- Be sure you are cutting your tree on National Forest land. Maps of the National Forest may be purchased at any Forest Service office Mon-Fri. 8:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. Maps are $10 each.
- Be prepared for winter conditions and take a vehicle equipped with 4-wheel drive, snow tires or chains. Start early since winter days are shorter. Keep a watchful eye for snowmobiles and other recreationists walking, skiing, or sledding on back roads.
- If your tree won’t be set up right away, store it in a cool area. When you’re ready to bring it indoors, cut at least an inch off the bottom. The tree will be thirsty so make sure there is always plenty of water in the tree stand. This will prolong the life of the tree through the holidays.
- Permits are for personal use only and limited to three per family. If you want to remove Christmas trees for fundraising or boughs for commercial use, please visit or call the Darby/Sula Ranger District at (406) 821-3913.