Find a perfect Christmas tree in the forest
Local U.S. Forest Service officials are suggesting holiday tree shoppers consider finding this year’s tree in the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest. A cutting permit costs $5 per tree and can be purchased at any U.S. Forest Service District Ranger Station. Up to five permits can be sold to a household. Permits and maps may be also obtained by mail but you must allow time for a check to travel through the mail and the permit to be returned.
“Bringing home a tree from a national forest is a wonderful holiday tradition,” said U.S. Forest Service Eastern Regional Forester Kathleen Atkinson. “We want to make sure families are safe this holiday season as they venture into the forest to find the perfect tree – be aware of changing weather conditions and unfamiliar surroundings, dress accordingly and always follow safe cutting practices.”
Here are some tips for a safe and successful tree search:
- Choose a cutting area that is away from designated wilderness areas, marked timber sales, private property, bodies of water, developed recreation or administration sites.
- Remember to take your tree-cutting permit and a map of the location.
- Select a tree the correct size for your home. Please don’t cut tree tops.
- Arrive early at your cutting area. It may take longer than you think to find that special tree.
- Be prepared for a winter outdoor experience. Wear proper clothing, bring plenty snacks and water and make sure your vehicle is prepared for winter travel.
- Many national forest roads are not maintained or plowed during the winter.
- Let someone know where you are going and when to expect you back.
- Don’t rely on your cellphone as it may not work in many areas of the forest.
- Don’t forget a rope and tarp to protect your tree for the ride home.
- Cut your tree a bit longer than you’ll need (6 to 12 inches), so you’ll have room to make a fresh cut on the bottom just before bringing it into the warm house.
- Wear eye protection and heavy duty work gloves.
- Get your tree into its stand as soon as possible.
- As the tree warms and thaws it will take up water; it will need a lot more when it’s new, so check the reservoir frequently in the beginning.
- Even though it has been cut, your tree is still “alive” and the needles will take on water. As the days go on, the cells in the cut end react to the wound and seal up and less water will be used, and the tree will begin to die.
The Chequamegon-Nicolet also has permits that allow for the collection of up to 25
pounds of balsam boughs for personal use in decorating for the holidays. There is no charge for these permits however, you do need to get one from a District Ranger Office.
For more information, call or stop by one of the CNNF District Ranger Offices:
Eagle River (715) 479-2827
Florence (715) 528-4464
Lakewood (715) 276-6333
Laona (715) 674-4481
Glidden (715) 264-2511
Hayward (715) 634-4821
Washburn (715) 373-2667
Medford (715) 748-4875
Park Falls (715) 762-2461
The Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest is the only national forest in Wisconsin and encompasses more than 1.5 million acres in 11 counties and 65 townships in northern Wisconsin. The forest is managed to restore Wisconsin’s natural communities and maintain a healthy, working forest. Visit the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest’s website at www.fs.usda.gov/cnnf for more information.