A downed spruce tree sits near the East Glacier Trail at the Mendenhall Glacier Recreation Area. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire File)

A downed spruce tree sits near the East Glacier Trail at the Mendenhall Glacier Recreation Area. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire File)

Want to cut a Christmas tree in the Tongass? Here’s what you should know

The Forest Service has some rules you need to follow

If you want to get a fresh Christmas Tree from the Tongass National Forest, there are a few things you should know before getting out the saw.

According to a press release from the National Forest Service, you don’t need a permit to cut a tree for personal use, but a household is limited to one tree per year.

The Forest Service suggests checking the Motor Vehicle Use Map to confirm the tree is in a Forest Service land management area. There are no regulations on what tree size or species to cut, but there are some rules to follow.

• Trees may not be cut from any developed Forest Service recreation sites:

On the Juneau District, this includes Auke Village, Lena Beach and all of the Mendenhall Glacier Recreation Area (Skater’s Cabin, Visitor Center, West Glacier Trail, Mendenhall Lake Campground and Dredge Lakes area.) Trees may not be cut from the Heen Latinee Experimental Forest.

On Admiralty Island National Monument, use a hand saw or axe to cut the tree. Chainsaws and motorized equipment are prohibited in the Kootznoowoo Wilderness.

• Trees may not be cut from the Heen Latinee Experimental Forest.

• Trees may not be cut from land within 330 feet of a bald eagle nest (often located near water.)

• Trees many not be cut within 100 feet of a salmon stream or a road.

• Trees should be no larger than seven inches in diameter at the stump.

• Cut trees as close to the ground as possible, below the lowest limb or 12 inches from the ground.

• Do not top a larger tree.

• Do not cut a tree and then discard it for another one found to be more desirable.

• Christmas trees should not be harvested from muskeg areas, as regeneration in these area is very difficult to establish.

• The tree cannot be sold, bartered or used in any commercial-type exchange for goods.

The Juneau District suggests a Christmas tree may be harvested on either side 100 feet from the road on Glacier Highway — between Milepost 29 to Milepost 33 and about 1 ½ miles — just past the Fish Creek bridge for a mile toward Eaglecrest Ski Area.

Please call your local Forest Service district for more information. The Juneau district can be reached at (907)789-0097. Other phone numbers can be found at the Forest Service website.


• Contact reporter Peter Segall at 523-2228 or psegall@juneauempire.com.


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