Tis the season for a Forest Service Tanenbaum

This year, Smokey Bear and Santa Claus are teaming up to bring some holiday cheer to fourth graders across the country.

As part of the national Every Kid in a Park initiative, the U.S. Forest Service said all fourth graders are eligible for a free Christmas tree permit from their local national forest.

Every Kid in a Park is a national effort to encourage children to visit national parks, forests, and public lands. In November and December, the Forest Service is promoting winter recreation on national forests, Christmas tree permits, and the annual Capitol Christmas Tree campaign.

Christmas tree permits are available at all Colville National Forest offices and most of the 1.1 million acres are open to Christmas tree cutting.

“If you don’t have a fourth grader at home or are just a fourth grader at heart, regular permits are $5 each with two maximum per family,” USFS spokesman Franklin Pemberton said.

Visit www.fs.usda.gov/colville for office locations and hours.

In order for students to receive a free tree permit, they must present a valid paper voucher printed from the Every Kid in a Park website.

• Step 1: Visit www.everykidinapark.gov and follow instructions for a paper voucher.
• Step 2: Print out the paper voucher.
• Step 3: Bring the paper voucher to a National Forest office to claim the tree permit.

Right now, young people are spending more time in front of screens than outside, and that means they are missing out on valuable opportunities to explore, learn, and play in the spectacular outdoor places that belong to all of them.

“The Every Kid in a Park initiative calls on each of our agencies to help get all children to visit and enjoy the outdoors and inspire a new generation of Americans to experience their country’s unrivaled public lands and waters,” Pemberton explained.

“Starting in September, every fourth-grader in the nation will receive an “Every Kid in a Park” pass that’s good for free admission to all of America’s federal lands and waters—for them and their families—for a full year.

For more information, visit www.everykidinapark.gov.

Christmas Trees

Most national forests allow users to harvest Christmas trees for personal use, but you must first have a Forest Service-issued permit and you must follow specific guidelines, which can vary from forest to forest.

General Guidelines

• Contact the Forest Service district office nearest you to obtain a permit.
• Contact each Forest Service district office for specific dates, maps, times, and accessibility.
• Always check weather conditions for proper dress attire in the forests.
• Tell someone you know where you are going and when you’ll return.
• Do not cut your tree in tree plantations, campgrounds, administrative site or other areas where specifically posted.
• Look up and all around. Be aware of areas where trees may be weakened by storms, insect damage or fire.
• Cut only one tree per tag.
• Select a tree with a trunk six-inches or less in diameter, and prepare to cut the tree no more than six-inches above ground level.
• Please remove the entire tree, not just the top.
• Select a tree from overstocked areas and thickets. Watch restricted areas. Attach your tree tag to harvested tree before placing in vehicle.

Additional Guidelines

• Most Christmas tree permits are issued in November. Snow and winter conditions can and does occur in the high country in November. Know your location, the weather, and your ability to traverse through snow.
• Dress for the season. Always be prepared for the cold and snow, and start tree hunting early in the day to have plenty of daylight hours.
• Bring emergency supplies, including blankets, water, food and a first-aid kit.
• Bring a sled or a rope and tarp to move your tree from the harvest area to your vehicle.