Start a new holiday tradition by cutting down your own tree

A great way to kick off the holiday season in Central Oregon is to hike into the Deschutes or Ochoco National Forest and cut down your own Christmas tree.

You’ll be able to choose from Douglas Firs, White Firs, Incense Cedars, Lodgepole Pines and Ponderosa Pines.

Here’s some tips for cutting your own tree:

  • Get a permit. Just $5, you can buy permits at multiple places around town.
  • Only cut trees on National Forest lands. Make sure you have a map and don’t cut from private property or state lands.
  • Only cut trees that are under 12 feet tall and are within 15 feet of another tree. And make sure your stump is less than 12 inches tall.
  • Do not cut trees within 150 feet of state highways, picnic areas, campgrounds and other developed areas.
  • Do not cut trees within 300 feet of any body of water.

If you’re looking for pine trees, check out flatter ground at lower elevation in and around Bend or on south and west facing slopes in the Prineville area. For families hoping to snag a fir or cedar tree, head up to higher elevation forest lands around Bend and Sisters or north and east facing slopes in Crook County.

One permit is required for each tree you cut with a maximum of five permits per household. When you get your tree home, cut a 1-inch diagonal piece off the bottom and place the tree in a bucket of water that has 1 part sugar for 16 parts of water. It also helps to keep your tree in your garage overnight to help it acclimate to its new indoor home.

Most importantly, be safe, have fun and create memories that’ll last for a lifetime!