Christmas tree permits going on sale soon in Lake Tahoe Basin |

Christmas tree permits going on sale soon in Lake Tahoe Basin

Special to the Tribune
After finding the perfect Christmas tree, David Prado, left, and Sebastian Loghin haul the 10-foot tree out of the forest to Prado's pickup.
Jim Grant / Tahoe Daily Tribune

The U.S. Forest Service Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit (LTBMU) will begin the sale of Christmas tree permits on Wednesday, Nov. 14.

Permit holders may choose from a variety of pine, fir or cedar trees up to 6 inches in diameter (at the base) in designated cutting areas. Permits must be purchased in person, are not transferable and are sold on a first-come, first-served basis.

Permits will be issued during regular business hours while supplies last. Cutting under these permits will be allowed until Dec. 31, to accommodate military families and others who may need to celebrate a delayed Christmas.

In support of the Every Kid in a Park program, the LTBMU will offer one free Christmas tree permit to fourth-grade students who present a valid paper voucher or durable EKIP pass. The student must be present to obtain the permit and when cutting the tree under the EKIP program.

Visit for information about the program and to obtain the student voucher. Then visit any participating Forest Service office and present the printed voucher in person along with a parent or guardian to obtain the Christmas tree permit.

LTBMU permits cost $10 each, with a limit of two per family or address. Permits will be issued on a first-come, first-served basis with limit of 2,000 permits.

Weather permitting, the following forest roads will remain open to improve access to cutting areas: Fountain Place Road to the first parking area, at the end of Oneidas Street (1201), Big Meadow Trailhead parking area (1213) and Barker Pass Road up to the OHV campground (03).

Permits will be sold in the following locations (please note, all offices are closed on Thanksgiving and Christmas days):

Forest Supervisor’s office, 35 College Drive, South Lake Tahoe. This office is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. until 4:30 p.m.

Incline Village Forest Service office, 855 Alder Ave., Incline Village. This office is open Wednesday through Friday from 8 a.m. until 4:30 p.m.

Cutting a Christmas tree offers a traditional holiday experience, while helping to thin the forest of excessive smaller trees, which helps to reduce excess vegetation that can feed an unwanted wildland fire and create a healthier forest over time.

Be sure to select a tree that is 6 inches or less in diameter at the base of the tree by using the ruler provided on the tag. Select a tree that is within 10 feet of another green tree. Do not remove the top of the tree, cut down the entire tree and leave a stump that is 6 inches or less above the ground. Scatter all discarded branches away from roads, ditches and culverts. Attach the tag to the tree before leaving the cutting area.

Cutting area maps are provided at the time of permit purchase. Permit holders should follow permit guidelines for responsible collection, including not trespassing onto private property when entering or leaving national forest cutting areas. Observe seasonal road closures and be prepared to hike to the cutting area to find a tree. No off-road travel is allowed. Park in legal areas and do not block gates.

It is important to remember that weather conditions in the mountains are unpredictable and travel during winter storm weather can be dangerous due to wet and/or icy roads. In addition, winds may cause branches or trees to fall.

Visitors should avoid cutting on wet, windy days. Check the weather before heading out and tell someone where you are going and when you plan to return. Dress appropriately for cold weather conditions and be prepared for ice and snow. Carry tire chains and a shovel and bring emergency supplies, including water, food, extra blankets and a first-aid kit. Keep in mind, mobile devices may not work in some areas.

Develop an emergency plan in case you cannot call for help.

Many other national forests sell Christmas tree permits. For a list and more information, visit

This article was provided by the U.S. Forest Service Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit.

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