Did you know you are legally allowed to cut down your own Christmas tree in the White Mountain National Forest in New Hampshire?

How cool is that?

I know you are probably thinking, "Why the heck would I do that?" And my response is, why the heck wouldn't you do that?!

Not only would that be an incredibly fun memory for you, your spouse, and your family, but you are actually helping the forest in the process.

According to an ABC News article:

Cutting down Christmas trees actually improves forest health, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The permit system, offered at dozens of national forests throughout the country, helps to thin densely populated areas of small-diameter trees and allows other trees to grow larger, opening areas that provide forage for wildlife and reduce wildfire danger.

Forget Christmas tree farms.

Wouldn't it be so fun to hike into the National Forest and pick out your authentic Christmas tree yourself?

Plus, it would be a teaching moment for your little one. You could teach them the importance of wildlife in forests.

Here are some guidelines from the U.S Department of Agriculture:

  • Contact the forest district office nearest you to obtain a permit for home firewood, Christmas tree and tree cutting instructions.

  • Wood or Christmas trees cannot be sold. Permits must be in your possession at all times while on the forest.

  • Contact each forest district office for specific dates, maps, times, and accessibility.

  • Before heading out, check the local forest for the latest warnings, such as fire or road closures.

  • Always check weather conditions for proper dress attire in the forests.

  • Tell someone you know where you are going and when you’ll return.

  • Check with local district offices before you cut dead or downed trees. Dead trees could provide animal habitat.

  • Stay away from areas along the sides of streams, rivers, lakes, and wet areas. Check with the ranger district for the proper distance.

  • Be aware of areas where trees may be weakened by storms, insect damage or fire.

  • Learn how to read a map and use a compass – and carry them both with you.

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