It’s that time of year, with family and friends gathering to share memories and celebrate the holiday season. What a great time to start a tradition by choosing and felling a Christmas tree in the Sequoia National Forest.

Christmas tree permits are available for $10, with a limit of one per household. Maps with directions to cutting areas and cutting guidelines are available at the time of purchase. Permits must be purchased in person; they’re not transferable and are sold on a first-come, first-served basis.

Christmas tree permits are free for fourth-grade students who participate in the Every Kid Outdoors Program (EKOP). To receive a free permit, fourth-grade students, or their teachers, need to sign up through the website https://everykidoutdoors.gov then download and print their pass. Students should be accompanied by their parents or guardian with their printed EKOP pass to the Sequoia National Forest Headquarters, Western Divide, or Kern River Ranger Stations to receive a free permit.

A limited supply of free precut EKOP trees will be available at the Forest Headquarters in Porterville and Western Divide Ranger Station in Springville during the dates listed below. Precut EKOP trees won’t be available on the Kern River Ranger District.

Sequoia National Forest Headquarters: 559-784-1500

The office is located at - 1839 S. Newcomb St, Porterville

Lobby Open: Monday – Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Closed Noon to 12:30 p.m.

General public permits will be available from Monday, Nov. 25 to Friday, Dec. 20.

Free precut EKOP trees will be available from Tuesday, Dec. 3 to Friday, Dec. 20.

Western Divide Ranger District: 559-539-2607

The Ranger Station is located at - 32588 Hwy 190, Springville

Lobby Open: Monday – Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Closed noon to 12:30 p.m.

General public permits will be available from Monday, Nov. 25 to Friday, Dec. 20.

Free precut EKOP trees will be available from Tuesday, Dec. 3 to Friday, Dec. 20.

Kern River Ranger District: 760-376-3781

The Ranger Station is located at - 11380 Kernville Rd, Kernville

Lobby Open: Monday – Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Monday, Nov. 25., a limit of 200 Christmas tree permits will be available. (25 EKOP and 175 general public permits only) Precut EKOP trees won’t be available on the Kern River Ranger District.

Christmas tree harvesting isn’t allowed in developed recreation areas, campsites, or within 300 feet of a stream or on private property. Have your permit and cutting area map with you, along with a local Forest map and a good understanding of your location before cutting.

All Forest Service offices are closed Thursday, Nov. 28, and Wednesday, Dec. 25, in observance of the holidays.

Please consider weather and road conditions when planning your route. Always let someone know where you’re going and when you expect to return. Extra food, water, and warm clothing are a good idea to take along during winter travel. Remember, many areas of the Forest don’t have cell phone coverage.

Cutting a Christmas tree offers a traditional holiday experience while helping to thin areas in the Forest with an over-abundance of smaller trees. Limiting the amount of continuous vegetation reduces the threat of a wildfire, and over time creates a healthier forest.

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