Santa Fe, NM – Nov. 4, 2020 – This year it’s easier than ever to purchase a permit to cut your own Christmas tree on the Santa Fe National Forest (SFNF). Online sales through Recreation.gov will begin Monday, Nov. 16, as a safer alternative to traditional in-person sales at SFNF offices during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Venturing into the national forest to find the perfect tree is an annual tradition for many families in New Mexico,” Forest Supervisor James Melonas said. “This year when COVID-19 has disrupted so many things, we really wanted to make at least one holiday tradition as convenient as possible. We are very happy to be offering the opportunity to purchase a Christmas tree permit online.”
Online customers can print their permit, place it on the dashboard of their vehicle and head into the woods. Christmas tree permits can also be purchased over the phone starting on Nov. 16 by calling forest headquarters or any of the SFNF district offices. Permits purchased by phone will be delivered via postal mail along with maps and guidelines for harvesting a tree. Customers in the Pecos area can also buy a Christmas tree permit at Pancho’s Minute Men Shell Station at 9 S. Main Street in Pecos. Call Pancho’s at 505-757-2620 to confirm permit availability. Unfortunately, this year the SFNF will not be selling Christmas tree permits through any other third-party vendors, including REI in Santa Fe.
The SFNF’s nonrefundable Christmas tree permits are $10. Permits purchased online through Recreation.gov will include an additional $2.50 service fee. One tag is valid for a tree up to five inches in diameter and 10 feet in height. Trees taller than 10 feet and/or wider than five inches require an additional tag. For example, a 15-foot tree requires two tags. The Santa Fe National Forest has a three-tag limit per household.
To purchase a Christmas tree permit online, visit the SFNF’s Christmas tree permit page on Recreation.gov. Purchasers will need a Recreation.gov account to complete the transaction. The page also includes need-to-know information about cutting your own tree, maps and tips for planning your adventure.
As part of the “Every Kid Outdoors” initiative, every fourth grader is eligible for a free holiday tree permit with a valid Every Kid Outdoors pass, downloadable at www.everykidoutdoors.gov. The student’s unique pass code is required to receive a free permit. Fourth graders can apply for their free permit through the online system by selecting the option and entering the code on their pass when prompted. The online Every Kid Outdoors permits will include the $2.50 service fee. Every Kid Outdoors permits can also be redeemed from the forest directly over the phone.
The cutting period for Christmas trees is Nov. 16 to Dec. 31, 2020. Permit holders should be prepared for unpredictable weather changes and colder conditions at higher elevations. Forest Service staff may be in the cutting areas to check permits and answer questions. Permit holders are asked to practice good stewardship. SFNF Christmas tree permits are valid only on land within forest boundaries. Tree cutting is prohibited within 300 feet of streams, rivers and paved roads, and in all recreation camp areas and congressionally designated wilderness areas.