USDA Forest Service Moves Christmas Tree Permits to Recreation.gov for the 2020 Season
By Moosetrack Megan

Posted: October 29, 2020
The USDA Forest Service is modernizing its approach to selling Christmas Tree permits and making them available to purchase through Recreation.gov beginning October 15.

The Forest Service moved permit sales to Recreation.gov as an added convenience and to provide an alternative to in-person transactions at offices where staffing may be limited due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Recreation.gov is a one-stop online resource to plan trips, share information and make reservations at more than 103,000 public lands locations nationwide.

“Customer Service is one of our core values and it just makes sense for the Forest Service to expand its Christmas Tree permit sales though this popular and secure online system.” said Vicki Christiansen, Chief of the Forest Service. “Recreation.gov is a full-service reservation and trip planning platform where visitors can reserve campsites, secure hiking and whitewater rafting permits, schedule tours and purchase tickets for a variety of activities.”

“Whether for the first time, or carrying on a time honored tradition, being able to secure a permit in advance, while learning important details of where and what to cut will simplify this process for visitors,” said Rick DeLappe, Recreation One Stop (Recreation.gov) program manager. “Instead of visiting a Forest Service office in person, visitors will be able to visit Recreation.gov and search for their local forest either from the main search bar or from a map interface,” DeLappe said.

In 2019, 13 national forests participated in the successful pilot program to sell Christmas tree permits online through the Open Forest platform—a Forest Service testbed for online permitting—which has now expanded to include most national forests through Recreation.gov.

The Christmas tree permit program is also a tool used in thinning dense, unhealthy stands of trees. Forest health experts help identify areas where Christmas trees can be cut, opening up forage for wildlife and allowing the remaining trees to grow larger. This information is used to develop cutting area maps that visitors can use to locate their ideal Christmas tree. Forests will provide more location-specific information on their local permit pages. Visitors can print their permit and display it on the dash of their vehicle on the day of their visit to cut their trees. Many forests will also continue to sell permits in person or through local vendors, so check with your local forest for details.

For more information or to purchase a permit, visit Recreation.gov.