Put Safety First When Cutting Christmas Trees: USFS

The Forest Service sells permits allowing individuals to cut one fresh tree on national forest lands. Following its tips means a safe, happy experience.

People who have secured permits to cut down a Christmas tree on national forest land this year should take standard precautions while cutting it, the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) said in a reminder posted Dec. 7. Tree cutters are trekking through national forests at this time as they hunt for the ideal tree, according to USFS, which through its local office sells permits that allow individuals to cut one fresh tree on national forest lands.

Fees for the permits vary by location. The agency said the permit program helps it thin stands that have a concentration of small-diameter trees.

Reminders and tips for cutting a tree:

  • Always tell a friend when you are taking a trip into the forest.
  • Remember to take your permit, a map with you to your forest location, dress warmly, and keep your car with a full tank of gas. Have tire chains if necessary, and don't forget to bring a rope and tarp to transport your tree home.
  • Select a tree that is 6 inches or less in diameter and prepare to cut it close to the ground at 6 inches or less.
  • Put on eye protection and heavy-duty work gloves.
  • Decide in which direction you want the tree to fall. Make sure the direction you choose is clear of any and all obstacles, including power lines and vehicles.
  • Use handsaws and shears. (Chainsaws are prohibited.)
  • Make the back cut by standing to the side and away from the trunk. Step away as soon as the tree begins to fall.

For information about obtaining a permit or for guidelines on cutting methods, contact a local Forest Service office or visit www.fs.fed.us.

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