Christmas tree hunting season is now open.
Starting this week, permits to cut Christmas trees in the Umatilla National Forest and the Wallowa Whitman National Forest are available at local Forest Service offices and commercial outlets. The permits are $5 each and valid for cutting one tree on forest land.
Permits are limited to one per household and do not authorize cutting on private, state, or other federal lands, said Joani Bosworth, Umatilla National Forest public information officer.
One change this year is that permits will not be available for purchase in the Tollgate area. People who want to cut trees in that area need to purchase their permit before heading up the mountain, Bosworth said.
After cutting a tree, the permit should be securely attached to the tree trunk between the limbs. The permit also needs to be visible during transport.
Forest officials ask that trees be cut at least 50 feet away from a roadway. Tree cutting is also prohibited within 200 feet of the Bluewood or Spout Springs Ski Areas, summer home sites, Tollgate Work Center and Forest Service guard stations.
Christmas tree cutting in the Pomeroy Ranger District is prohibited on Park and Cook Ridges and in the Lick Creek area, including Sheep Creek, Cabin, Capehorn and Mud Springs ridges.
People cutting trees should clean up all trimmings and limbs and leave stumps no higher than 10 inches. Green limbs left off the stump should be cut off and used for decoration.
As a final note, forest officials cautioned that anyone going into the woods should be prepared for sudden weather changes and check with local ranger stations for road conditions.
"Keep your family and your own safety in mind as you head to the forest," said Kerry Sherman, resource specialist for the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest. "Carry a forest map, snacks, water and dress warm."
- Walla Walla Ranger District Office, 1415 W. Rose St., 522-6290.
- Pendleton Grain Growers, 217 E. Broadway Ave.
- Pendleton Grain Growers, 259 E. Main St.
- Pomeroy Ranger District Office, 71 W. Main St., (509) 843-1891.
- The Last Resort
- Pomeroy Foods
- PF Express