El Pasoans not satisfied with procuring their Christmas tree from a big box store or parking lot vendor can pick out and cut down their own at the Lincoln National Forest in New Mexico.

Christmas may still be weeks away, but it’s time to start making plans if you want to harvest your own living room centerpiece. Here’s what you need to know before venturing off on a tree-finding outing.

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Taking a tree home from a national forest is a win- win: the family has a fun holiday outing and the forest’s general health is improved.

Along with the bonding experience and the memories made, your tree might even give your home that Pine Sol smell longer since it hasn’t been sitting on a truck and then a parking lot for who knows how long before you picked it out.

But you can’t just drive over the river and through the woods, hike through the forest, and start chopping away at the first pine tree that catches your eye.

There are a few rules to DIY'ing your own Yuletide tree, and first and foremost is that you need a permit.

Thom Holmes via Unsplash
Thom Holmes via Unsplash

The Forest Service is selling permits online, over the phone, by mail, or in-person at a Lincoln National Forest office beginning November 14, 2022 until December 24, 2022. Cost is $10.00 plus a $2.50 processing fee.

The website also addresses best practices for selecting your tree, has a map showing areas of a forest where you can and cannot cut down a tree, and how to best plan your tree cutting expedition.

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