Venturing into a national forest in search of the perfect Christmas tree is a long-standing family tradition. The Siuslaw National Forest began issuing Christmas tree cutting permits Monday, Nov. 21, at its offices in Waldport, Hebo and Corvallis.
Permits cost $5 a piece or are free with a fourth-grader’s Every Kid In A Park pass. Every Kid passes are free to any student attending the fourth grade this school year. In addition to a free Christmas tree permit, the Every Kid pass provides students and their families free admittance into national parks and day-use fees with other federal land agencies, such as the U.S. Forest Service.
Before purchasing a Christmas tree permit on the Siuslaw National Forest, staff members advise buyers to have a specific tree or cutting location in mind. “Searching for a suitable tree within the temperate rainforests of the Oregon Coast can be challenging,” said Courtney Schreiber, a resource specialist with the forest. “Trees on the Siuslaw grow very quickly, so it can be difficult to find one that fits inside a typical home.” Schreiber also noted that the dominant conifer species on the forest are Douglas-firs and Sitka spruces, which are not as highly prized for Christmas trees as Noble firs or other high-elevation fir species more commonly found in the Cascade Range. “But the search can still be a fun family adventure,” Schreiber added.
To purchase a Christmas tree permit for the Siuslaw National Forest, visit one of the following locations:
· Waldport, 1130 Forestry Lane (541-563-8400)
· Hebo, 31525 Hwy 22 (503-392-5100)
· Corvallis, 3200 SW Jefferson Way (541-750-7000)
Individuals wanting a fir species or smaller trees may want to consider purchasing a permit from a national forest with lands at higher elevations, such as the Willamette or Deschutes national forests in the Oregon Cascades. Permits must be purchased from the forest where the tree will be cut.
Christmas tree safety
Finding a tree may turn into an all-day outing, so be prepared. Winter weather also can make traveling along forest roads hazardous.
· Bring extra food, water, blankets, flashlight, a First Aid kid and survival gear
· Let family or friends know where you are headed and when to expect your return
· Carry tire chains and bring a shovel
Before cutting your tree, remember these rules:
· Ensure you’re on national forest land. A map is provided with your permit.
· Take the entire tree – NOT just the top portion of a larger tree.
· Attach your permit to the tree immediately after cutting it.
· Do not discard your tree if later finding one you consider more desirable.
Saw or chop your selected tree within six inches of the ground. Leave no limbs attached to the stump. To keep the tree from drying out, leave it outside until you’re ready to put it in a stand. At that point, cut the trunk at an angle, and keep it in plenty of water.