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For $5, you could get a permit to cut down a Christmas tree in White Mountain National Forest

White Mountain National Forest sign in Easton, NH. Dan Tuohy photo / NHPR.
Dan Tuohy
White Mountain National Forest sign in Easton, New Hampshire.

A Christmas tree’s journey to the living room can take many forms. Nowadays, most live trees come from a farm. Others are carefully constructed out of polyethylene and PVC.

But the White Mountain National Forest offers a different option: with the purchase of a five dollar permit, you can cut down your own wild conifer.

There are some rules. One tree per household, and only hand tools are allowed – no chainsaws. The tree must be less than 6 inches in diameter at chest height, and the stump left behind must be 10 inches or smaller.

Those cutting down their own evergreen will need to be more than 100 feet from recreation areas like campgrounds and trailheads, and trees cannot be taken from wilderness areas, experimental forests, or private land.

Further listening: Rick Ganley and Mary McIntyre cut down a Christmas tree in the White Mountains

The Forest Service says before leaving home, people should be sure to measure the space where they plan to put the tree, and make sure they have space in their vehicle for transporting it.

Practicing outdoor safety like dressing warmly, bringing extra food and water, and carrying an overnight survival kit is also a good idea, officials say. Cell service and weather can be unpredictable.

Permits are available online or at White Mountain National Forest offices.

Mara Hoplamazian reports on climate change, energy, and the environment for NHPR.
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