Christmas tree permits in national forests are now available, and children in fourth grade can receive their permits free through the Every Kid in a Park program.

Standard Christmas tree permits are $5 each, according to news releases from the Nez Perce-Clearwater and Wallowa-Whitman national forests. Permits are limited to three per family and are required for each tree that is cut.

The permits can be purchased from any U.S. Forest Service office as well as several local vendors. A list of vendors can be found on the forests’ websites.

Students in fourth grade can receive a free permit with their Every Kid in a Park pass by presenting the pass at the Forest Service’s offices. Children must be accompanied by an adult. The pass allows fourth-graders and accompanying adults free access to public lands across the U.S. This pass is free of charge and can be downloaded online. Anyone seeking more information about the pass may visit: www.everykidinapark.gov or any local ranger station.

Generally, no special areas in the forest are designated for Christmas tree cutting, but people are asked to cut their trees at least 200 feet from well-traveled roads, flowing water, campgrounds and recreation sites. Trees should be selected from thickets and overstocked areas, and people are asked to choose a tree that is the right size for their needs.

Permits should be attached to each tree before they are taken to a vehicle.

People should also be aware of winter driving conditions in the forest and are advised to bring tire chains, a first-aid kit and other emergency equipment. Any other information may be obtained at local ranger stations.

Kathy Hedberg may be contacted at kathyhedberg@gmail.com or (208) 983-2326.

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