Christmas tree cutting permits went on sale Monday at two of the Nebraska National Forests & Grasslands (NNFG) District Offices: the Pine Ridge and Bessey Ranger Districts in Chadron and Halsey, respectively. The permits entitle the purchaser to harvest one Ponderosa Pine or Eastern Red Cedar, measuring up to 15 feet tall. Maps will be available with the permits to identify selected areas for tree harvest for each of the Ranger Districts.
The permits cost $10 and are available at the following offices Monday through Friday:
4Supervisor Office/Pine Ridge Office at 125 N. Main Street in Chadron, NE 8 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. MST.
4Bessey Office at 40637 River Loop Road near Halsey, NE 8:30 a.m. - 5 p.m. CST.
The Forest Service is the official featured agency to celebrate the White House’s Every Kid in a Park Initiative for November and December. As part of this celebration, free Christmas tree tags will be offered to fourth graders who present a valid voucher or an interagency fourth grade pass. Vouchers may be obtained at the Every Kid in a Park website: https://everykidinapark.gov/. To obtain the voucher, visit the website, click on the “Get your pass” button and follow the instructions. Print out the paper voucher and bring it with you to a District Office or the Supervisor’s Office on the NNFG. When fourth graders come into the office for their free permits, they are also issued a commemorative, hard plastic permit as a keepsake.
Each permit includes cutting guidelines, travel recommendations and a free motorized vehicle users map, (MVUM) to show roads and trails open for the public to find their tree. The maximum allowable height of cut trees is 15 feet. Permits require that you cut the entire tree, leaving no more than six inches of stump, and that you cut unused branches so they lay flat on the ground.
The adhesive permit tag must be attached before a tree is removed from the cutting area; a citation can be issued for possession of a cut-but-untagged tree, even if a tag is available in person or in your vehicle.
Trees should be placed in water as soon as possible to help keep needles fresh. Once indoors, trees should be placed away from stoves, heaters, or heating ducts. After Christmas, used trees should be disposed of properly as yard waste. Do not dump used trees on national forest land.
Only areas designated on the permit map are open to Christmas tree cutting. Areas excluded from cutting include all campgrounds, administration sites, National Recreation Areas, Research Natural Area, and around Pine Ridge Job Corps. For more information please visit our website at www.fs.fed.us/r2/nebraska.