Less than an hour after the U.S. Forest Service put Lake Tahoe Christmas tree permits for sale online last year, all 1,500 were gone.
This year, people will have to show up in person 8 a.m. Nov. 14 at the Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit offices on 35 College Drive in South Lake Tahoe to get one of the coveted permits.
Folks who don’t want to wait two more weeks or leave their house, will be able to purchase permits online for the Humboldt-Toiyabe Forest starting Tuesday.
Permits on both the Carson and Bridgeport ranger districts are $10 per tree, according to recreation.gov/tree-permits.
Permits to cut Christmas trees from firs to piñon are available across federal lands surrounding Carson Valley, offering an adventure into the mountains.
“Many families are discovering their local forest for the first time to bring home their special holiday tree,” said USDA Forest Service Chief Randy Moore. “These experiences help connect people to their local national forest and become treasured family memories.”
Permits for the Eldorado National Forest will only be available online at the recreation.com site starting 7 a.m. Nov. 10.
Maps of Christmas tree areas are available online showing where visitors can find a tree.
There are areas excluded, including parts of the Tamarack Burn on the Humboldt-Toiyabe and the 2021 Caldor Fire area, including national forest lands along Mormon Emigrant Trail, Silver Fork Road, and North-South Road. Portions of the King Fire area are also closed to give seedlings a chance to grow and allow forests to reestablish.
Offici8als say cutting Christmas trees can help improve forest health.
“Overgrown areas of the forest benefit over time from thinning the small trees that tend to be the perfect size for Christmas trees,” they said. “More space helps other trees grow larger and opens areas that provide food for wildlife.”