The Vermont Green Mountain National Forest Service 'Cut your own Tree Program' has been around for more than 20 years! It encourages the public to use the land in a way that gives adventure and meaning to an age old holiday traditional. To begin, you must visit one of the 4 Forest Service Offices in Manchester, Rutland, Middlebury or Rochester and purchase the $5 permit, they will provide you with a map. They will also advise you on practical issues such as dressing warmly, bringing a cell phone & GPS, flashlights, extra food, wearing bright colors or hunting season attire, letting people know where you are going, and when you expect to return and suggested area in your region for tree harvesting. Depending on snowfall, in some cases tall snow boots and/or snowshoes are required.
Additionally, this is a chance to engage the public about stewardship and land management practices. People are encourages to cut trees that are growing in groups to thin them out rather than take one standing alone in a meadow. People mostly search for Balsam Fir Trees, but occasionally they will find a Red Spruce, or even a Hemlock. Permits are limited to one per household per year, and trees must not be resold. Trees over 20 feet tall are not eligible to be cut. For more information on the 'cut your own tree experience', call or visit our closest Forest Service Office in Manchester, 362-2307. Get outside and 'take a hike'!
Another helpful hint, take a tape measure, and measure the height of the space you plan to put the tree in BEFORE you set out on your journey. Don't forget some twine or bungee cords to tie your tree down for the ride home.