Christmas tree permits are now available at U.S. Forest Service offices on the Helena-Lewis and Clark National Forest. Permits cost $5 and are used to harvest a tree on public lands managed by the USDA Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management. Each family may purchase up to three permits.

The USFS is happy to once again offer free Christmas tree permits to fourth graders through the Every Kid Outdoors program (formerly known as Every Kid in a Park). Fourth graders who have claimed their Every Kid Outdoors pass or paper voucher can visit a USFS office with a parent or guardian to receive their free Christmas tree permit. Free permits are available on a first-come, first-served basis while supplies last. Learn more about the program at www.everykidoutdoors.gov or call your local ranger station.

Please keep these helpful hints and specific restrictions in mind when harvesting your Christmas tree:

•Remember to securely attach the permit to your tree.

•Do not cut trees in active timber sale units, developed campgrounds and recreation sites, designated Wilderness areas, or within 100 feet of main roads, creeks or streams.

•When harvesting your tree, please do not leave any live branches on the stump and trim the stump to no more than six inches above the ground.

•Please select a tree shorter than 12 feet tall, and do not cut off the tops of trees.

Instructions and regulations will be included on the permit and in an accompanying brochure. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to ask USFS staff when you pick up your permit, or call your local ranger station.