Whatever your holiday tradition, one that’s sure to bring a smile to your child’s face is taking a trip to the woods and cutting your own family holiday tree.
Holiday tree permits are officially available starting Monday, November 18, at Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management Offices, as well as at numerous vendor locations in southwest Oregon (see vendor list at http://www.fs.usda.gov/rogue-siskiyou.) Some locations may offer tree permits a little later than the official start date; we recommend you call the local office to check permit availability.The permits allow for the cutting of personal-use trees for Christmas and other holiday events. A permit is required for the harvest of each individual tree.
The permits sell for $ 5.00 per tree and are non-refundable. There is a limit of five tree permits per person. The permits cover a large area that includes the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest and the Coos Bay and Medford Districts of the BLM, where lands are open to personal use tree harvesting. Maps with directions to cutting areas will be provided at time of purchase.
The Christmas tree permit tag is validated after harvesting your tree by cutting out the date, month and year on the tree tag and securely attaching it to the cut tree in a visible location before transporting it.
Christmas tree harvest is not allowed in wilderness areas, campgrounds, developed recreation areas, National Monuments, Research Natural Areas, Areas of Critical Environmental Concern, or within fences or posted tree plantations, within 200 feet of state highways or on private lands. Christmas tree cutting is also not permitted within the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument, the Wild and Scenic Rogue River corridor and Recreation Areas. This stresses the importance of having your tree permit map with you, along with a local Forest or BLM map, and a good understanding of your location prior to cutting.
Traveling safely on public lands is very important for you and your family’s health and safety. Keep in mind that roads on public lands administered by the Forest Service and BLM are not plowed in the winter and can present some situations that quickly become dangerous if you are not properly prepared.
On any outing to the forest this time of year, be prepared for winter weather and check weather conditions prior to departure. It is strongly encouraged that you take a reliable map of the area (Forest Service or BLM map in addition to your tree permit map) with you and travel with a full tank of gas. Bring along adequate supplies such as warm clothing, blankets/sleeping bags, high energy food, water, warm beverages, first aid kit, flashlight, whistle, mirror, shovel and chains.
Always let someone know where you plan to harvest your tree and when you expect to return. Consider going out with a more experienced friend if you are new to this activity or unfamiliar with the area in which you will be travelling.
The Bear Camp Coastal route is open but not recommended for travel this time of year, as the route is not maintained for winter travel from mid-November through the end of May. Be safe, and happy holidays!