BEND, Ore. - It's the most wonderful time of year to head to your National Forest and find the perfect Christmas tree for your home and the Deschutes and Ochoco National Forests and Crooked River National Grassland can provide you the permit for that tree.
Permits are $5 each and allow the holders to cut one tree. Each household can purchase a maximum of five permits.
Permits can be picked up on weekdays until 4:30 p.m. at any of the Deschutes or Ochoco Supervisor or District offices or the Crooked River National Grassland office. On weekends, the permits also are available at several commercial outlets across Central Oregon.
Additional information is available online at www.fs.usda.gov/centraloregon.
Weather conditions at higher elevations can be dramatically different from those in town and people should be prepared for cold and unpredictable weather. Additionally, most forest roads are not maintained for winter driving, so snow patches or debris may be encountered.
Bring a hand saw or axe as well as winter clothing and safety equipment. Tire chains and a shovel are recommended, as is extra food, drinking water, blankets, a flashlight, first-aid kit and survival gear. Tree cutting and travel can 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.
To keep a 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's reservoir daily.