Gathering holiday greens on Superior National Forest

DuluthCutting your own Christmas tree or balsam boughs on the Superior National Forest can be a festive outing during the holidays. The ritual of hiking through the woods with your family and friends to choose your personal tree or boughs can greatly enrich the holiday season. 

Remember to obtain a permit at a Superior National Forest office before you go. A permit to cut one Christmas tree on the Superior National Forest costs $5 and may be purchased at any Forest office. Two Christmas tree permits are allowed per household per year. A “personal use” permit for gathering balsam boughs on the Superior National Forest allows for enough boughs to make approximately five door-size wreaths and costs $20. If you plan to gather boughs, it’s best to contact the Ranger District office closest to the area where you plan to collect greens. Superior National Forest office hours generally are Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., with the exception of federal holidays. Permits and maps may be obtained by mail but you must allow time for a check to travel through the mail and materials to be returned. For a printable flyer and additional information, visit the Superior National Forest web site at: fs.usda.gov/superior.

Fourth grade students may obtain a free Christmas tree permit through the Every Kid in a Park Program. The program is an initiative to get kids and families into our national forests and parks. Fourth grade students can go to the Every Kid in a Park website, complete some on-line activities, and print a voucher good for a special Fourth Grade Pass which can be picked up at participating federal agency offices, including the Forest Service. In addition to enabling fourth graders to receive a pass that allows free access to federal lands, the pass (or the printed voucher) also allows fourth graders to get a free permit for their family to harvest a Christmas tree on a national forest. See the website for details: everykidinapark.gov.

There are a few things to know before you go out to gather boughs or cut a Christmas tree. Be sure you know where Superior National Forest lands are. Parcels of state, county, tribal and private lands are intermixed with national forest lands within the Forest boundary. Visitor maps of the Superior National Forest which show land ownership are available for $10 at all Forest offices and also via the internet. Cutting of trees and boughs is not allowed inside the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, plantations, recreation areas or administrative sites.