Would you want to cut down your own Christmas Tree in Shawnee National Forest?

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HAROLD, Ill – Cut down your Christmas tree in the Shawnee National Forest with the purchase of a Christmas tree permit. This special permit allows you to harvest a Christmas tree from designated sections of the Shawnee National Forest.

Selecting the perfect Christmas tree can be an adventure. According to, it’s recommended to do a preliminary scouting hike to identify an area with a diverse array of red cedar trees before venturing into the woods with your saw. Additionally, consider the weather conditions and the location of the tree when deciding to cut it down.

However, this isn’t a “Home Alone” situation where you can simply cut off the top of the tree; there are guidelines to follow for legally cutting down a tree. Each permit allows the purchase of only one Eastern red cedar tree, and the selected tree cannot exceed 15 feet in height. provides all the necessary details for cutting down a tree. The cost of obtaining a tree is only $5.00, making it a potentially wonderful tradition for your family. Keep in mind that cutting down and removing a tree from the forest may take some time.

If you would like to cut a tree down in Mark Twain National Forest, they only allow Eastern red cedar trees to be cut under a permit as well. In order to obtain the permit, visit the district office directly and request a “free use permit.”

After you cut your tree:

The Missouri Department of Conservation offers tips on maintaining the health of your cut tree. Upon bringing the tree home, it’s advisable to make a fresh cut to the trunk, removing around 1/2 inch. Immediately place the tree in a stand filled with water, ensuring the water level never drops below the bottom of the trunk.

Once your Christmas tree is set up, position it in a safe area in your home, away from heating vents, wood stoves, or fireplaces. Additionally, ensure that all lights have cords that are not worn or frayed. It’s crucial never to leave home or go to bed with the Christmas tree lights on for safety reasons.


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