Permits available to cut Christmas trees on Shawnee National Forest

Enjoying the fresh air while hiking the forest in search of the perfect Christmas tree can be a wonderful way to begin the holiday season.  

The U.S. Forest Service invites the public to create special memories by making a family visit to the Shawnee National Forest in Southern Illinois to cut their own Christmas tree.

The Forest Service said that Christmas tree permits will be available to purchase online through beginning Nov. 15.  

To purchase a Christmas tree permit, visit  

The Forest Service advises that “it is important to carefully read all the permit information prior to purchasing your Christmas tree permit. You can also download a free map(s) of the area you plan to visit in search of a tree. Visitors will need to set up or login to a account to complete the transaction.”

Christmas tree permits cost $5,  with one permit allowed per household, plus a $2.50 online transaction fee.  

The permit allows for one eastern red cedar tree to be cut and taken home.  

Those who receive a permit must harvest the eastern red cedar on Shawnee National Forest land. Chainsaws may be used for cutting the tree.  

Those with permits are reminded that they must also follow Forest Service motor vehicle restrictions in removal and hauling of their Christmas tree.  

Trees cannot be cut from any restricted areas listed on the permit.

“For families interested in creating new traditions, a trip to their local national forest to cut their own Christmas tree is a perfect opportunity to discover nature and enjoy time together outdoors in search of the perfect holiday tree,” forest supervisor Michael Chaveas said in a news release. 

Cutting a Christmas tree can also help improve forest health, the Forest Service noted. The permit system helps to thin densely populated stands of small-diameter trees.  

The Gazette-Democrat

112 Lafayette St.
Anna, Illinois 62906
Office Number: (618) 833-2158

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