November 5, 2020, HARRISBURG: Enjoying the fresh air while hiking the forest in search of the perfect Christmas tree, can be a wonderful way to begin the holiday season. Create special memories by bringing your family to the Shawnee National Forest to cut your own Christmas tree.
Christmas Tree Permits will be available to purchase online through Recreation.gov beginning November 9th. The Forest Service has moved permit sales to Recreation.gov as an added convenience for visitors due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“For families interested in creating new traditions, a trip to the local national forest to cut their own Christmas tree is the perfect opportunity to discover nature, while enjoying time together in search of the perfect holiday tree,” said Michael Crump, Acting Forest Supervisor.
Christmas Tree Permits cost $5.00 (one permit allowed per household), plus a $2.50 online transaction fee. The permit allows for one Eastern Red Cedar tree to be cut and taken home. Permittees must harvest the Eastern Red Cedar on Shawnee National Forest land and chainsaws may be used for cutting the tree. Permittees must also follow Forest Service motor vehicle restrictions in removal and hauling of their Christmas tree. Trees cannot be cut from any restricted areas listed on the permit. To purchase a Christmas tree permit, visit www.recreation.gov/tree-permits/shawnee. Visitors will need to set up or login to a Recreation.gov account to complete the transaction. It is important to carefully read all the information on the website prior to purchasing the permit. A change from last year is that no permits will be sold at Shawnee National Forest offices, but rather the permit is available only online.
Every Kid Outdoors is a nationwide call to action to connect kids to nature. All fourth graders are eligible to receive an Every Kid Outdoors pass that allows free access to federal lands and waters across the country for a full year. In support of this initiative, the Shawnee is making available a free Christmas tree permit to every interested fourth grader with a Every Kid Outdoors pass or paper voucher. For additional information about the initiative and how to obtain a pass, visit www.everykidoutdoors.gov. To obtain a free Christmas tree permit, the fourth graders’ parent or
guardian should logon to the Shawnee’s Recreation.gov website (see above) and have their paper voucher or pass number ready ($2.50 online transaction fee applies).
Cutting a Christmas tree can also help improve forest health. The permit system helps to thin densely populated stands of small-diameter trees. Removing some Christmas trees allows more available nutrients and extra space to grow for the trees that are left standing. Opening up groves of cedar trees can also improve foraging habitat for a variety of wildlife species.