A cherished Holiday tradition for many is gathering the family together in late November or early December to head out into one of our many forests to harvest the perfect Christmas tree.  And with such an abundance of forest land around Butte, perhaps this is the year to make this tradition one of your own if you haven't already.  Let's face it.  A natural Christmas tree just looks better.  It has a better feel to it.  It gives your home that distinct Montana pine aroma.  And when it comes to making memories, you sure will remember a trip with the whole family to the forest a lot more than you will a trip to the nearest big box store.

Harvesting your own tree is not only fun and memorable, but affordable as well.  Christmas Tree permits on the Beaverhead-Deer Lodge National Forest are only five dollars per tree.  Trees harvested must not lie on private property, in wilderness areas, in areas that have been cleared or in existing tree plantations.  They also may not be harvested from within 150 feet of a visible roadway or within 150 feet of streams and creeks or in other well-used areas.  Prohibited species are Whitebark Pine or White Pine.  Harvested trees must be 12 feet high at maximum and their stump length must be 6 inches maximum.  Tree "topping", or cutting off just the top part of a large tree, is not only bad practice, but it is also illegal.

Christmas Tree permits and a complete list of regulations along with helpful tips and maps are available here or by stopping by the Butte Ranger District at 1820 Meadowlark.

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