It is the most wonderful time of the year on the Helena-Lewis and Clark National Forest! This year the Forest Service offices and districts will once again be providing Christmas tree permits.

“The Christmas tree permit provides local communities a fun way to create adventures and family traditions on their local forest,” said Forest Supervisor Emily Platt. “For safety, we advise folks to ensure they have winter essentials in their car such as chains, a shovel, extra blankets and food and check local weather reports before heading out.”

Christmas tree permits can be obtained online or at your local ranger district through Dec. 31. This year permits are $5 per tree and a permit allows an individual to cut up to three trees. Permits are good forest-wide except at cabins, campgrounds, picnic areas, trailheads, wilderness or riparian areas, natural landmarks, active timber sales and areas where trees have been planted for reforestation purposes.

Permits can be purchased online or in person at our Forest Service offices located in Helena, Great Falls (including the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center), Lincoln, Townsend, Stanford, Harlowton, Choteau, Augusta, White Sulphur Springs or Neihart. To purchase online, visit: www.recreation.gov to get started and search for “Helena-Lewis and Clark National Forest Christmas Tree Permit.” Fourth graders, through Every Kid Outdoors, can also obtain a free permit through Recreation.gov or at district offices.