Lake Tahoe Basin Christmas tree permits go on sale later this month |

Lake Tahoe Basin Christmas tree permits go on sale later this month

A family last year cuts down their Christmas tree.

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. — The Forest Service Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit will begin selling Christmas tree permits and new for this year is one permit per family or address.

LTBMU will begin selling Christmas tree permits on Monday, Nov. 25. Permits cost $10 each and are payable by cash, check or credit card, although cash is preferred to quicker process permits.

By limiting permits to one per family, we can help ensure more families can have a tree this year, LTBMU said. 

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 is allowed until Dec. 31, to accommodate military families and others who may need to celebrate a delayed Christmas.

Permit holders may choose from a variety of pine, fir or cedar trees up to 6 inches in diameter (at the base) in specially designated cutting areas. 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 a Christmas tree offers a holiday experience and helps remove smaller trees, which reduces excess vegetation that can feed unwanted wildland fires.

Cutting area maps are provided at the time of permit purchase. 

Permits will be sold at both on the North and South shores — from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday at the Forest Supervisor’s Office, 35 College Drive, in South Lake Tahoe and from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. seven days a week at the North Lake Tahoe Visitor Center, 100 N. Lake Blvd., in Tahoe City.

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. Weather permitting, some forest roads will remain open to improve access to cutting areas.

In support of the Every Kid Outdoors Program, the LTBMU will offer one free Christmas tree permit to fourth-grade students who present a valid Every Kid Outdoors pass. 

The student must be present to obtain the permit and when cutting the tree. 

For more information, visit The free permit may only be obtained at the South Lake Tahoe office.

It’s important to remember that weather conditions in the mountains are unpredictable and travel during winter weather can be dangerous due to wet or icy roads.

On stormy days, wind may cause branches or trees to fall, so visitors should avoid cutting on wet, windy days. 

Always 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, blankets and a first-aid kit. 

Mobile devices may not work in some areas, so develop an emergency plan in case you cannot call for help.

Many other forests sell Christmas tree permits.

For a list and more information, visit

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