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Fourth Graders: Get Your Free Christmas Trees!

Posted by Anna Roth at Dec 07, 2015 03:25 PM |

Explore your public lands in all their winter glory--harvest your own Christmas tree! Plus, through the Every Kid in a Park initiative, fourth graders can get a free permit this year.

An outing to harvest a Christmas tree is a great way to explore your public lands in all their winter glory. This year, the U.S. Forest Service is offering all fourth graders the opportunity to obtain a free Christmas tree permit through the Every Kid in a Park initiative, a national effort encouraging children (and their families) to visit national parks, forests and public lands.

Getting your permit

In order for your fourth-grader to receive a free tree permit you'll need a valid paper voucher printed from the Every Kid in a Park website. Here's how to get it:

  • Step 1:  Visit and follow instructions to obtain the paper voucher.
  • Step 2:  Print out the paper voucher.
  • Step 3:  Bring the paper voucher to a National Forest office to claim the free permit. Find your nearest district office here. Vouchers can be claimed between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m., but some ranger stations have varied hours. Call ahead or check the website to make sure they're open.

Finding the perfect tree

When you get to the trailhead, be sure that your Every Kid in a Park pass is displayed on the vehicle dashboard before you take off down the trail. If you're parked at a Sno-Park, you'll also need to display a valid Washington State Sno-Park permit in the vehicle.

Each permit allows the removal of one tree less than 15 feet tall on Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest Lands. On Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie and Gifford Pinchot, your tree must be 12 feet or less. It may be cut or dug up and removed as a transplant. Please fill in the hole created when digging up a live tree. If cutting the tree, please remove the entire tree, not just the top, and leave no more than a 6-inch stump. Find more advice on finding the perfect tree this season here.

View of Mount Stuart. Photo by Omelnikov.

Make retrieving your Christmas tree an all day outing -- head for your favorite snowshoe on National Forest lands. Photo by Cascade Dreams.

Remember to punch out the month, day, and year on the Christmas tree permit tag once you've found your tree. Attach the tag where it is clearly visible on the tree before loading it onto your vehicle. Tags may not be re-used.

Are your kids not quite old enough to qualify for the Every Kid in a Park initiative? Permits are also available for sale for $5 each ($10 on the Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest), with a limit of two permits per family; permits are not refundable.