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Christmas Tree Permit Sales Available Online for Shawnee National Forest

SOUTHERN ILLINOIS – The U.S. Forest Service says you will be able to go to the Shawnee National Forest and cut your own Christmas tree this year.

Christmas tree permits will be available to purchase online through Recreation.gov beginning Nov. 15. To purchase a Christmas tree permit, visit www.recreation.gov/tree-permits/shawnee.

It is important to carefully read all the permit information prior to purchasing your Christmas tree permit. You can also download a free map(s) of the area you plan to visit in search of a tree. Visitors will need to set up or login to a Recreation.gov account to complete the transaction.

Christmas Tree Permits cost $5.00 (one permit allowed per household), plus a $2.50 online transaction fee. The permit allows for one Eastern Red Cedar tree to be cut and taken home. Permittees must harvest the Eastern Red Cedar on Shawnee National Forest land and chainsaws may be used for cutting the tree. Permittees must also follow Forest Service motor vehicle restrictions in removal and hauling of their Christmas tree. Trees cannot be cut from any restricted areas listed on the permit.

Cutting a Christmas tree can also help improve forest health. The permit system helps to thin densely populated stands of small-diameter trees. Removing some Christmas trees allows more available nutrients and extra space to grow for the trees that are left standing. Opening up groves of cedar trees can also improve foraging habitat for a variety of wildlife species.