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Cutting your own Christmas tree in the Reno / Tahoe region

If you’re the do-it-yourself type, you can get Christmas tree cutting permits from the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) or the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to get a tree on nearby public land. or not so close to public land. Most national forests allow harvesting of Christmas trees, but you must have a permit.

Visit the Christmas Tree Permits page of the BLM website for links to the Lake Tahoe Basin Unit and surrounding National Forest Units. For other areas, look up your local BLM or National Forest Service site and your Christmas Tree permit information.

Lake Tahoe Christmas Tree Trimming

Check the U.S. Forest Service’s Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit (LTBMU) website for the start date for the sale of Christmas tree cutting permits. In recent years, the date was in the first week of November, so check at the beginning of the month. 2,500 permits will be available at two Lake Tahoe locations on a first-come, first-served basis. If they’re still available (they sell out quickly, everyone had left in one place the first week in December), the last day to buy permits is December 19, and the last day to cut a tree is December 25.

Maps of designated cutting areas and other information on choosing a tree are included with the permits. You can choose from tree species such as pine, cedar and fir. Trees chosen for cutting must have a trunk diameter of 6 inches or less. There may be some seasonal road closures and off-road driving is not allowed, so you may have to walk a bit to get to certain cut-off areas. Stay on the roads of the National Forest System and do not trespass on private property.

North Shore Lake Tahoe Incline Village Forest Service Office: 855 Alder Avenue, Incline Village, NV. Hours are 8 am to 4:30 pm, Wednesday through Friday. (775) 831-0914 (during winter driving conditions, call ahead to make sure the office is open).

South Shore Lake Tahoe Forest Supervisor’s Office LTBMU: 35 College Drive, South Lake Tahoe, CA. Hours are 8 am to 4:30 pm, Monday through Friday. (530) 543-2600.

Christmas tree permits for the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest

The United States Forest Service (USFS) sells Christmas tree cutting permits for the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest. Check their website on the News and Events page to see when and where they go on sale, usually in the last full week of November to December 25, or until available permits are exhausted.

Permits must be purchased in person with cash, check, or credit / ATM cards. Permits are good for cutting white fir, Jeffrey pine, lodgepole pine, and frankincense cedar in designated areas, including portions of Dog Valley, Mt. Rose, Markleeville, Woodfords, Hope Valley, and Wolf Creek. USFS Christmas tree permits are generally offered at these locations, but check the current information and if they are out of stock.

  • Sede del Bosque Nacional Humboldt-Toiyabe  1200 Franklin Way, Sparks, NV 89431
  • Carson Ranger District Office 1536 S. Carson Street (US 395), Carson City, NV 89701
  • Galena Creek Visitor Center 16750 Mount Rose Highway, Reno, NV
  • Hope Valley Café y Market 14655 Highway 88, Woodfords Canyon, CA.
  • Markleeville General Store 14799 Highway 89, Markleeville, CA 96120

Christmas tree permits from the Bureau of Land Management (BLM)

Nevada BLM Carson City District permits are generally available in mid-November. The permits are non-refundable and there is no limit on how many you can purchase. Areas open to logging include the Pinenut Mountains between Carson City and Yerington, the Clan Alpine and Desatoya Mountains east of Fallon, and the Excelsior Mountains southeast of Hawthorne. When you buy a permit, maps and directions are available. BLM offices in Reno and Carson City accept credit cards, cash, and checks.

Other locations only accept cash or checks made out to BLM. You can obtain permits in person at various BLM locations. These are the ones that generally offer them. Check the current information.

  • BLM Carson City District Office
  • BLM Nevada State Office
  • Galena Creek Visitor Center
  • Cal Ranch: 2035 N. Carson Street, Carson City, NV 89706 (775) 461-2213
  • Carson Valley Chamber of Commerce
  • Community Action Center – Hawthorne 924 5th Street, Hawthorne, NV 89415 (775) 945-2471
  • UNR Cooperative Extension Office – Fallon
  • Middlegate Station 42500 US Highway 50 (48 miles east of Fallon) (775) 423-7134
  • Cold Springs Station 52500 US Highway 50 (62 miles east of Fallon) (775) 423-1233

Be prepared for winter conditions

Wherever you go cutting Christmas trees, bring your own saws and other equipment. In case you encounter bad roads and stormy weather, be sure to bring warm clothing, a first aid kit, extra food and water, heavy rope or chain, a shovel, and tire chains. If it gets stuck, it may take a while before someone finds it and cell phones won’t work in remote areas. Be sure to check the weather forecast and road conditions to make sure the roads to your intended location are open.

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