Cut Your Own Christmas Tree

Ready to get a Christmas tree, and want to create a fun family tradition? Consider hiking into a national forest and cutting your own tree.

Here’s our annual reminder of how to do it.

Tree-cutting permits cost just $5; in the Northeast, they are available for the White Mountain National Forest in New Hampshire and the Green Mountain National Forest in Vermont. In addition to cash or a check, you will need a handsaw or ax, warm clothes and other essentials for a winter hike, and patience. You and your family will have to spend some time looking for the right tree and then working together to cut it and carry it out. (Your tree must be at least 100 feet from a state highway, and not in or near a campground, picnic area, Wilderness, or other area that is off limits for cutting trees.)

You can buy tree-cutting permits at White Mountain National Forest offices in Gorham, Conway, Campton, and Lincoln, New Hampshire; and at Green Mountain National Forest offices in Rutland, Middlebury, Manchester, and Rochester, Vermont. Before driving to the region to cut a tree, make sure the nearest office will be open.

Once in the woods, you may want to look for fragrant balsam firs, which retain their needles well, or spruce, with their full branches and classic shape. Whatever type of tree you choose, you may find the extra work is wonderfully balanced by the experience of seeing the tree in its natural surroundings before bringing it home. A little hot chocolate can help.

Learn More
Don’t remember the difference between a fir and a spruce? Read some tips from AMC.

Photo by iStock

Great Kids, Great Outdoors is an Appalachian Mountain Club blog, written by Heather Stephenson.

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