SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) — While the Christmas season isn’t quite here yet, Utahns looking to chop down their own trees will have to plan now as permit deadlines are coming up fast.
Whether you have been chopping down your own tree for years or are new to the Christmas tradition, here is what you need to know to make it a successful trip.
Christmas tree permits
In Utah, a permit is required to chop down a Christmas tree, and the dates to buy one are sooner than you might expect.
Both the U.S. Bureau of Land Management and the U.S. Forest Service sell permits for the lands they manage. The permits for Forest Service land became available in October and BLM permits are available for purchase at the beginning of November.
The permits are sold by BLM field offices across the state for $10 or range between $10 to $20 for Forest Service land.
For the 2023 season, the St. George Field Office opened permit sales on Nov. 1, the Price Field Office will start selling permits on Nov. 24, and all other BLM offices, including the Salt Lake office, will open permit sales on Nov. 9.
You can purchase up to two permits, one for each tree, and have until Christmas Day to use them. The permits can be purchased from the BLM online here or in person at your closest BLM Field Office. You can view permit information for the Forest Service by clicking here.
Where can I chop down a tree?
When looking for the best location to find your tree, you first need to know the boundaries of your permit. You will need to stay within the boundaries the BLM Field Office covers. For an interactive map of the boundaries, click here.
If you purchased from the Forest Service, you must cut a tree on Forest Service land. You can refer to the map given with your permit to stay within boundaries.
In addition, you will want to read over the stipulations and regulations listed on the websites when purchasing the permit as they vary from area to area.
Once you find the ideal tree for your home, make sure to chop it close to the ground leaving a stump that is under six inches. Place the permit tag on the tree before transporting it home.
Tree Cutting Tips
To ensure your trek through the mountains goes as smoothly as possible, you might want to look through these tips provided by the BLM and Forest Service.
What to bring:
- Measuring tape to make sure the tree is the right size for your home
- Handsaw and gloves to protect your hands
- Tarp to place your tree on once it’s cut
- Rope or straps to secure it during transport
- Let someone know where you are planning to go ahead of time
- Wear warm clothing and bring food just in case
- You may also want to bring tire chains and a shovel
- Avoid dragging your tree as it can rub off needles and bark, try carrying it instead
- If transporting the tree outside of your vehicle, wrap it in a canvas to prevent wind damage
- Cut the bottom of the trunk before placing the tree in water. Don’t forget to refill the water regularly!
In order to leave the environment better than you found it, BLM says to try to cut a tree in a dense area so the remaining trees have more room to grow. Officials also recommend cutting the leftover branches from the stump and scattering them around the area.