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Christmas tree permits available

SALEM (AP) — Sales of Christmas-tree permits for the Mount Hood National Forest are now available, and permits for the Willamette National Forest go on sale the day after Thanksgiving.

Permits are $5 each and are good for cutting one tree on designated areas of either national forest. Each household can purchase a maximum of five permits.

A permit to cut a Christmas tree on Bureau of Land Management lands is $5.50 for BLM land south of Dexter. Each household is allowed to buy a maximum of three of those permits.

Officials advise that when heading out to collect your tree, don't be fooled by nice weather at valley-level elevations. Weather conditions in the mountains can be drastically different and include freezing temperatures, snow and ice.

Many areas of Mt. Hood National Forest have received snow, making many forest roads difficult to navigate, according to a Nov. 18 alert on the Mount Hood National Forest website.

Information on current conditions for forest lands west of The Dalles and Dufur can be obtained at the Barlow Ranger District office, 780 N.E. Court St. in Dufur, 541-467-2291. Current information on forest lands west of Hood River are available from the Hood River Ranger Station office, 6780 Highway 35, Parkdale, 541-352-2291. Christmas tree cutting permits and maps of cutting areas are also available at the above locations 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on weekdays.

You should prepare for the unexpected, officials advise; bring a handsaw or axe as well as winter clothing and safety equipment. Tire chains and a shovel also are recommended, as is extra food, drinking water, blankets, a flashlight, a first aid kit and survival gear.

Tree-cutting and travel may take longer than anticipated, so notify a friend or family member where you're going, get an early start, and leave the woods well before dark.

"Going into the woods to find the family Christmas tree is a great way to experience your national forest," said Tim Lahey, the Forest Products Program manager on the Willamette National Forest. "To make it a fun and safe experience, please check the current weather conditions before heading out.

"If you have additional concerns, contact your local ranger station for more information."

To keep your tree from drying out and becoming a fire hazard, leave it outside until you're ready to move it indoors.

Cut the trunk at an angle before placing it in the stand and remember to refill the stand reservoir daily.

Visitors can purchase permits and receive maps of cutting areas at district offices from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. weekdays.


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