Journey through the forest and find a Christmas tree
Those who wish to explore the Mt. Hood National Forest in search of the perfect Christmas tree can now purchase permits online.
This year, the Mt. Mood National forest is one of 13 public lands participating in a permitting process through the Open Forest System at openforest.fs.usda.gov.
"This program allows you to purchase a 2019 Christmas tree permit from the comfort of your own home, or by using your mobile device, instead of traveling to a Forest Service office or a local vendor," Laura Pramuk of the Mt. Hood National Forest wrote in a press release. "The Forest Service will use feedback from the 2019 Christmas tree season to continue to refine and improve the online permit system for our Forest visitors in the future."
The Forest Service is also selling permits at a variety of locations around the region, including the Clackamas River Ranger District Office, 595 N.W. Industrial Way, Estacada; Estacada Tackle Shop, 210 S.E. Highway 224, Estacada; ACE Heritage Hardware, 39181 Pioneer Blvd., Sandy; Hoodland Thriftway, 68280 E. Highway 26, Welches; and Mt. Hood Village Market, 73265 E. Highway 26, Rhododendron.
Permits are $5, and there is a limit of five per household. Permits allow for the cutting of a Christmas tree up to 12 feet tall.
Additionally, as a part of the "Every Kid" program, fourth grade students can receive a free holiday tree permit. They should have their "Every Kid" pass or voucher with them and be accompanied by a parent or guardian when they collect their permits, which can only be obtained at official ranger district offices. For more information, visit everykidoutdoors.gov.
Stay safe in the forest
Forest Service officials recommend those venturing into the wooded area begin their journey early and return home before dark; dress warmly and carry a forest map, snacks and water; not rely solely on GPS; and share their destination and anticipated return time with family and friends. When harvesting a Christmas tree, it's important to bring a cutting tool and rope or cord to secure it to a vehicle.
During the holiday season, winter weather is also a possibility on the forest. "Please carry traction devices and be advised of winter road closures and snow park permit requirements," Forest Service leaders wrote in a press release.
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