The Tonto National Forest will sell over-the-counter Christmas tree permits beginning at 8 a.m. on Monday, Nov. 18.
Each Christmas tree permit is $15, payable by cash, credit card or personal check. Purchase permits at the following locations:
• Payson Ranger District, 1009 E. Highway 260, Payson, 928-474-7900: Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Closed for lunch from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m.
Note: hours will include 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturdays beginning Nov. 23 through Dec. 21.
• Supervisor’s Office, 2324 E. McDowell Road, Phoenix, 602-225-5200: Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Closed for lunch from 1 to 1:30 p.m.
• Mesa Ranger District, 5140 E. Ingram St., Mesa, 480-610-3300: Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Closed for lunch from noon to 12:30 p.m.
• Cave Creek Ranger District, 40202 N. Cave Creek Road, Scottsdale, 480-595-3300: Monday through Friday, 8 am to 4:30 p.m.
A permit allows the holder to cut a tree within any designated cutting site on the Tonto National Forest —regardless of whether the permit was purchased at the Supervisor’s Office or one of the three ranger districts — beginning Nov. 18. Permits will be sold on a first-come, first-served basis until they are gone. Permits must be purchased in person. Customers will receive a map that shows the designated cutting areas. Maps will include additional Christmas tree cutting instructions.
Free permits for fourth-graders
Fourth-grade students are eligible for a free Christmas tree permit, while supplies last, through the Every Kid Outdoors initiative.
Every Kid Outdoors is a nationwide call to action to build the next generation of conservationists. All fourth-graders are eligible to receive a fourth-grade pass that allows free access to federal lands and waters across the country for a full year.
To support this initiative, the Forest Service is making available a free Christmas tree permit to every interested fourth-grader with a fourth-grade pass or paper voucher. More information about the initiative and how to get a pass is available by visiting https://everykidoutdoors.gov/index.htm.
To be eligible for a free Christmas tree permit from your local national forest office, a parent or guardian must accompany all fourth-graders and present their fourth-grade pass or paper voucher.
Rules for Christmas tree permits:
• Each Christmas tree permit allows permit holders to cut a tree up to 10 feet tall.
• One tree per household. One person may purchase up to four permits for other families not living in the household.
• Permits are for personal use only.
• No refunds on Christmas tree permits.
• Cutting dates are Nov. 18 through Dec. 24.
• Tree cutters are reminded to be prepared for sudden weather changes and colder conditions when in high elevations. A fun family outing can become miserable and even dangerous with a quick change of weather for the unprepared.
• Forest officials recommend cutting your tree early in the season before the higher elevations are snowbound. To help keep your tree fresh, cut two inches from the bottom of your tree when you get home and place it in water. Keep your tree watered and in a shady spot until you are ready to move it into the house.
• Bring an old tarp to wrap your tree in and to help avoid wind damage on the way home.