CAMPTON, N.H. — Patience, $5, a permit and a sharp saw or ax is all one needs to cut their Christmas tree this year in the White Mountain National Forest.
A Christmas tree permit can be purchased for $5 (cash or check only) from the forest service at offices in Campton, Lincoln, Gorham and Conway, N.H. For office hours and permits, visit www.fs.usda.gov/whitemountain.
Several types of evergreens grow in the White Mountain National Forest.
"Many people prefer the balsam fir, because of its fragrance and needle retention," Colleen Mainville, WMNF spokeswoman, said Tuesday morning in a news release. "Others prefer the spruce because of the fullness of the branches and the classic shape."
However, a wild tree might not have that perfect appearance of a commercial tree, she said.
"Be prepared to do some real searching," Mainville said. "Somewhere out there is your ideal Christmas tree!"
White Mountain National Forest Christmas trees are for personal use only and not for resale, she said.
Each family can cut one tree per permit. Use only hand tools to cut Christmas trees; chain saws are not permitted.
Mainville said participants must ensure that they are on National Forest land and to respect the rights of landowners when crossing private property.
Additionally, participants are asked not to cut trees in or near campgrounds and picnic areas, experimental forests, wilderness, timber sale areas, or within 100 feet of a state highway.
"When you purchase the permit, ask if there are any known 'off-limit' areas," she said.
Do not cut trees larger than 8 inches in diameter at chest height. Pack down limb piles low enough so they are within 2 feet of the ground. Additionally, scatter limbs and wood at least 25 feet away from roads, streams, hiking trails and property boundaries.
Cut your Christmas tree so that the remaining stump will be less than 10 inches tall, and attach the tree tag after cutting but before transporting the tree, Mainville said.
"Be prepared for winter, dress appropriately in warm clothing and make your day a safe one," she said.