With the likelihood of new snow falling at higher elevations this week, this might be the time to head to the nearest national forest and cut your own Christmas tree.
Cutting your own tree on national forest land is both inexpensive and can be a fun family adventure — provided you follow some simple safety tips.
The U.S. Forest Service requires a permit to cut a tree, as it regulates the practice as an aid to forest thinning.
There are a number of restrictions when cutting trees on forest land. The Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument, for example, is closed to tree cutting. Tree cutting also is prohibited in wilderness areas, developed campgrounds, administrative sites, within 300 feet of streams, on private or state-owned lands within national forest boundaries and in other posted areas.
Cutting on private lands is subject to trespass action. If you're unsure about areas available for tree cutting, contact the nearest Forest Service office.
Here is information on permit sales from the three national forests surrounding the South Sound:
As winter weather is in the forecast, conditions in the mountains can change quickly during a tree-cutting excursion. Here are some safety recommendations from forest managers: