Christmas tree permits are now available free to fourth-graders

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Cutting down a Christmas tree can be a festive outing for families to begin the holiday season. With the “Every Kid in a Park” Forest Service Program, Mineral County fourth-grade students can get a free permit for their family to harvest a tree.

Regular permits to cut Christmas trees on Forest Service land cost $5 and are available at any Forest Service office.

Balsam fir are the type of trees preferred to be cut down, whereas white pine, princess pine, and cedar are not allowed to be harvested. Two tags are allowed per household per year and people are not allowed to top off tall trees and the maximum stump height is 12 inches.

When cutting down trees, people should not be close to plantations, recreation areas, administration sites or Research Natural Areas. Also, walk at least 50 feet away from roadsides, trails, lakes, or recreation areas.

A permit is also required for balsam boughs for wreaths. If boughs are for personal use, they can be purchased for $20 and individuals can cut enough boughs for five wreaths. Harvest boughs from trees that are greater than seven feet high and never cut down a tree for boughs. Also, when cutting the branches, leave a portion of each pruned branch for regeneration.

Harvested branches should have ends no larger in diameter than a pencil. People need to have their permits with them when harvesting. Superior Forest Service reminds people to stay on National Forest Service land and they have maps available at their office in Superior weekdays from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. with information online at: www.fs.usda.gov/superior

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