Create memories and explore the forest while finding this year’s holiday tree for your home. Starting Nov. 9 visitors may buy Christmas tree cutting permits online at Recreation.gov. Permits may be purchased in-person beginning Nov. 17 at Mt. Adams and Cowlitz Valley Ranger District offices and many local vendors. Permits cost $5 each, using cash, check or credit card. There is a $2.50 service charge when purchasing a permit through Recreation.gov.

There is a limit of five permits per household, and permits are valid for one-time use. Christmas tree permits include a map of areas that are closed to cutting and an information sheet with special instructions for cutting your tree on the national forest. If you bought your permit online, you need to bring your printed permit with you into the forest. Please carefully read the overview and need-to-know information provided.

Households with fourth graders can get a Christmas tree cutting permit for free. After earning their Every Kid Outdoors pass online, fourth graders simply need to show their valid paper voucher or Every Kid Outdoors pass at the national forest office for their free permit. Fourth graders and their parents should visit everykidoutdoors.gov for more details and to obtain their paper voucher.

To ensure a successful trip, make sure to plan-ahead and prepare. Ranger District hours vary, so be sure to call ahead to check current office hours. Be aware that winter weather in the forest can change rapidly and that most forest roads are not maintained for winter driving. Forest staff recommend bringing traction devices and a shovel, extra food and water, winter clothing, blankets, a flashlight and a first aid kit. Don’t forget a tool for cutting the tree and a rope or cord to secure it to your vehicle. Tree cutting and travel may take longer than anticipated, so always let a friend or family member know where you are going, get an early start, and leave the woods well before dark.

This year visitors can purchase Christmas tree permits at the following Forest offices and vendor locations near you:

Mt. Adams Ranger District, 2455 Highway 141, Trout Lake; 509-395-3400. Office Hours vary. Please call for current schedule.Walk up window service for all sales or by phone/mail.

Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument, 42218 N.E. Yale Bridge Road, Amboy, Wash.; 360-449-7800. Office hours vary. Please call for current schedule.

All Forest Service offices will be closed Thanksgiving Day, Thursday, Nov. 25.

Vendor locations (call for hours of operation and information):

Little Mountain (True Value) Hardware, Trout Lake; 509-395-2773.

Main St. Convenience Store (open 24 hours), Stevenson; 509-427-5653.

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For additional vendors and more information, including a video on successful tree harvesting, visit www.fs.usda.gov/goto/gp/treepermit.

For more information on current road status and closures, visit www.fs.usda.gov/recmain/giffordpinchot/recreation#conditions .