This holiday season, why not add a touch of adventure to your celebrations by cutting down your very own Christmas tree in Bridger-Teton National Forest? On top of adventuring in winter wonderland, opting for this DIY approach is not only cost-effective but also a more sustainable choice for holiday decor. Follow our guide for harvesting your own Christmas tree and make it a memorable day outdoors, whether on skis, snowshoes, or foot.

1. Secure Your Permit:

Make sure to obtain your permits from the National Forest Service. Each tree permit costs $15, with a limit of 2 per household.

2. Check the Map:

Before planning your adventure, refer to the USDA Christmas Tree Cutting Map (portion is pictured right) to identify off-limits areas within the National Forest.

Make sure to plan your endeavor ensuring you have the proper clothing and supplies for your adventure. Remember, some areas are more accessible than others.

Check the JH Nordic Trail Search and type in “BTNF” to make this Christmas Tree search a Nordic adventure: https://jhnordic.com/trails/?search=BTNF

3. Select Your Tree:

When searching for your tree, opt for harvesting in crowded areas to encourage growth among surrounding trees, especially near aspen stands. Ensure the tree’s size meets regulations, with a maximum height of 20 feet and a stump width not exceeding 8 inches. Take the entire tree—avoid topping it. Measure the stump height accurately by clearing snow from the base.

Christmas Tree Cutting Map for Bridger-Teton National Forest
Areas with ‘R’ are restricted and NO TREE CUTTING is allowed

4. Time to Cut:

For the cutting process, we recommend using a handsaw or a cordless chainsaw, along with some muscle power.

5. Take It Home:

Now, the team of harvesters needs to transport the tree back to the car. Conduct a quick check of your surroundings to adhere to Leave No Trace (LNT) principles. Depending on the distance from parking, Nordic skis or snowshoes may be recommended. Carefully secure your tree to your vehicle using straps or rope.

Using a handsaw to cut down your Christmas tree
Use a handsaw to remove the tree, leaving no more than an 8″ stump.
Take your tree home 🙂

6. Deck the Halls:

Finally, it’s time to decorate and savor the season with your freshly harvested tree.

7. Recycle Your Tree:

Once the holiday season concludes and your tree has dried up, recycle it for compost.

A beautifully decorated Christmas tree
Oh Christmas Tree, Oh Christmas Tree!

Wishing you Happy Holidays! 🎄

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