It’s already been established that picking up a live Christmas tree locally can be better for the environment than buying a fake one. You should feel no shame then in browsing for trees at one of our country’s national forests this holiday season—assuming you have the proper permit, of course.
According to Travel + Leisure, the U.S. Forest Service offers permits to chop down trees for firewood and holiday decorations starting at $5. To see when your local national forest offers holiday tree permits and for what prices, you can call the forest district office before making your visit. Once you get out there, the U.S. Forest Service asks you take trees from overgrown areas at least 200 feet from the nearest camp ground, recreation site, or main road; choose one with a trunk less than 6 inches wide; and above all, stay safe. Any wood you collect from the forest cannot be resold.
If an aspiring young lumberjack is joining you on your journey, you might be able to take home the tree for free: As part of their collaboration with the Every Kid in a Park Program, the U.S. Forest Service is providing free permits to fourth graders at certain parks. In addition to the permit, kids will also receive a free ornament they can color and design themselves.
[h/t Travel + Leisure]