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Get the freshest Christmas tree. Here’s how to cut your own in the Blue Mountains

O’Christmas Tree: tips for choosing, cutting a mountain tree

The Umatilla Forest Service is selling permits for $5 to cut a Christmas tree in the Blue Mountains. Buy them at Farmer's Exchange and Sportman's Warehouse in Kennewick or Columbia Grain & Feed in Pasco.
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The Umatilla Forest Service is selling permits for $5 to cut a Christmas tree in the Blue Mountains. Buy them at Farmer's Exchange and Sportman's Warehouse in Kennewick or Columbia Grain & Feed in Pasco.

Permits for cutting a Christmas tree in the Blue Mountains of the Umatilla National Forest have gone on sale.

The permits cost $5 and are limited to one per household.

They can be purchased in the Tri-Cities at Columbia Grain and Feed in Pasco and Farmer’s Exchange and Sportsman’s Warehouse in Kennewick. They also are available at Conoco General Store in Dayton and Ace Hardware in Hermiston.

If the household has a fourth-grader, the permit is free if a a student presents a paper voucher from the Every Kid in a Park website at a Forest Service office. Go to everykidinapark.gov.

Tree permits also are sold and forest maps are available during regular business hours at the Umatilla Ranger District offices in Walla Walla; Pomeroy; Ukiah, Ore., and Heppner, Ore. They also are available at the supervisor’s office in Pendleton.

Trees taller than 14 feet may not be cut.

Trees must be cut at least 50 feet away from a road; out of sight of state highways and at least 200 feet from commercial ski areas, summer home sites, the Tollgate Work Center and Forest Service guard stations.

The Forest Service warns that after Dec. 1 most Forest Service roads close in the Tollgate area of the Walla Walla Ranger District. Snowmobiles or snowshoes may be needed to access most roads off Highway 204.

Be prepared for winter weather with warm clothes, supplies for a fire in an emergency, and food and water. Let someone know where you are going and when you expect to be home.

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