Here’s what you need to know about cutting Christmas trees in Arizona national forests

Nov 7, 2023, 4:15 AM

It’s a good time to start thinking about getting a real Christmas tree from one of Arizona's nati...

It’s a good time to start thinking about getting a real Christmas tree from one of Arizona's national forests. (Pexels Photo)

(Pexels Photo)

PHOENIX – With Halloween in the rearview mirror, it’s a good time to start thinking about getting a real Christmas tree from one of Arizona’s national forests.

“For every tree that is found, cut and carried home as a holiday fixture, a new story is created,” U.S. Forest Service Chief Randy Moore said in a press release. “These stories become the precious memories that create traditions worth carrying on for generations and further connect families with their local forests.”

Seasonal permits to cut down conifers for personal use are made available each year in limited numbers, so it’s best to plan ahead.

In fact, it’s too late if you were dreaming of an evergreen from Prescott National Forest, which started issuing permits last month and is already sold out.

Each forest has its own regulations and restrictions, but generally the trees can’t be taller than 10 feet and must be cut before the end of December. The forests all have designated areas where people who bought permits in advance can harvest trees.

Permits are good only in the forest, and in some cases ranger district, for which they were purchased.

Here’s what you need to know about getting a Christmas tree from one of Arizona’s national forests:

Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest

Christmas tree season in Arizona’s westernmost national forest started in mid-October.

The Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest permit fee is $15 per tree for up to three trees, with designated cutting areas in each of the forest’s five ranger districts.

Coconino National Forest

A total of 13,000 permits for two Coconino National Forest ranger districts will be sold online for $15 each starting Thursday (Nov. 9), with cutting starting Nov. 17.

The Flagstaff Ranger District will have 400 permits, and the Mogollon Rim Ranger District will have 900 permits.

Each permit is good for one tree.

Coronado National Forest

Christmas tree harvesting in southern Arizona’s Coronado National Forest is allowed only in the Douglas Ranger District.

Permits cost $10 and go on sale the week before Thanksgiving. Cutting starts the day after Thanksgiving.

Kaibab National Forest

Christmas tree season started Nov. 1 in Kaibab National Forest.

Permits can be purchased for up to five trees, at $15 per tree.

Arizona’s northernmost national forest is offering 3,200 permits: 1,500 for the Williams Ranger District, 1,200 for the North Kaibab Ranger District and 500 for the Tusayan Ranger District.

Tonto National Forest

Tonto National Forest northeast of metro Phoenix will start selling Christmas tree permits Thursday (Nov. 9), with cutting starting Nov. 18.

Each permit costs $15 and is good for one tree.

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Here’s what you need to know about cutting Christmas trees in Arizona national forests