Beginning Saturday, November 1, Christmas tree permits will be available from the Mendocino National Forest for the 2014 holiday season. Permits are available for purchase in person or by mail from Mendocino National Forest offices, as well as at area vendors. Vendors are listed below with contact information for the Forest Service. Permits are $10 per tree at Forest Service offices. Customers are advised to call vendors to verify permit price and availability. The permits will be sold at Forest Service offices through Tuesday, December 23.
Trees may be cut and removed any day of the week in authorized areas of the Mendocino National Forest. Please check current Forest fire closure areas in case your annual tree cutting spot is within the closure. There is a limit of one permit per household, with each permit using a valid name and address. Up to four additional permits may be purchased for additional households, using separate names and addresses. Individuals must be 18 or older to purchase a permit. All Christmas tree permit sales are final, with no refunds. Permittees will receive a tree tag and Forest map.
To purchase a permit by mail, send a printed name and mailing address for each permit purchased, a daytime telephone number, and a check or money order made out to "USDA Forest Service" for $10 for each permit to either the Willows, Stonyford, Upper Lake or Covelo offices with "Christmas Tree Permit" written on the outside of the envelope. Mail-in requests received after December 14 will not be filled. A form can be found online (under "Christmas Tree Permits") at:
If you are planning on cutting a Christmas tree for someone who isn't present, a Third Party Authorization must be in the possession of the cutter. This form is also available on the Forest website and should be completed prior to leaving for the forest.
Permit holders should be aware that federal and state quarantines to prevent the spread of sudden oak death (SOD) are in effect for Lake and Mendocino Counties. Any Christmas tree cut in these counties can only be transported into other SOD quarantine counties, including Alameda, Contra Costa, Humboldt, Marin, San Francisco, Monterey, Napa, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, Solano and Sonoma.
All Mendocino National Forest offices will be closed Thursday, November 27 in observance of Thanksgiving, Christmas tree permits can be purchased from the following Forest offices for $10:
Mendocino National Forest Supervisor's Office
825 N. Humboldt Ave.
Willows, CA 95988
Hours: Monday-Friday 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m.
Stonyford Work Center
5171 Stonyford-Elk Creek Road
P.O. Box 160
Stonyford, CA 95979
Hours: Tuesday-Saturday 8 a.m.-noon, 1-4:30 p.m.
Paskenta Work Station
13280 Paskenta Road
Paskenta, CA 96074
Hours: Saturday, December 6 and 13 ONLY 9 a.m.-noon, 12:30-3 p.m.
Covelo Ranger Station
78150 Covelo Road
Covelo, CA 95428
Hours: Monday-Friday 8 a.m.-noon, 12:30-4:30 p.m.
Upper Lake Ranger Station
10025 Elk Mountain Road
Upper Lake, CA 95485
Hours: Monday-Friday 8 a.m.-noon, 1-4:30 p.m.
Christmas tree permits are available from the following vendors. Please call for prices and availability:
Sacramento River Discovery Center (Only 45 permits available)
1000 Sale Lane, Red Bluff
Hours: Tuesday-Saturday 11 a.m.-4 p.m.
160 E. Hwy 20, Upper Lake
Hours: Monday-Saturday 8 a.m.-8 p.m.; Sunday 8 a.m.-7 p.m.
M&M Feed and Supply
74540 Hill Road, Covelo
Hours: Monday-Saturday 8:30 a.m.-6 p.m.; Sunday 9 a.m.-4 p.m.
Keith's Family Foods
76201 Covelo Road, Covelo
Hours: Monday-Saturday 7 a.m.-10 p.m.; Sunday 8 a.m.-10 p.m.
Cutting a Christmas tree on the National Forest is a great holiday tradition for many families and also helps with hazardous fuels reduction by removing smaller trees from the Forest. Following are some tips to make your experience more enjoyable.
* Plan your trip - check the weather, bring plenty of warm clothes, water, emergency food, tire chains, shovel, a saw or axe to cut your tree, and a tarp and rope to bring it home. Make sure you have a full tank of gas when you leave and are prepared for changing conditions in the mountains! Also, let someone know where you are going and when you plan to be back.
* Keep vehicles on designated roads and be aware of changing weather and road conditions. Wet dirt roads can quickly turn to mud, making it possible to get stuck and causing damage to road, soil and water resources. If there are puddles in the road, mud flipping off the tires or you can see your ruts in the rearview mirror, consider pulling over and taking a hike to look for a tree, or turning around and finding a different area to cut your tree.
* Cut your tree early in the season before favorite cutting areas can't be reached because of snow.
* Make sure you are cutting a tree in approved areas on the Mendocino National Forest and not from other federal, state or private lands.
* Cut the tree as close as possible to the ground and leave as little of a stump as possible.
* Attach the permit on the tree where it will be easily visible with the tree packed or tied on your vehicle for transport home.
* To help keep your tree fresh, cut at least one inch off the base when you get home and stand the tree in a container of water in a cool, shaded area, checking the water level daily. For more information, please contact the Mendocino National Forest or visit www.fs.usda.gov/mendocino