If you are the do-it-yourself type, you can get Christmas tree cutting permits from either the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) or Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to go get a tree on nearby public land, or on not so nearby public land.
Be Prepared for Winter Conditions
Wherever you go Christmas tree cutting, 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 you get stuck, it may be a while before someone finds you and cell phones may not work in remote areas. Be sure to check the weather forecast and highway conditions to make sure roads to your intended location are open.
Christmas Tree Cutting at Lake Tahoe
During the 2012 holiday season, the U.S. Forest Service Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit (LTBMU) is selling Christmas tree cutting permits starting on Friday, November 23. Permits are $10 each (cash or check, no credit cards) with a limit of two per family. 3,000 permits will be available at two Lake Tahoe locations. Included are maps to designated cutting areas and other information about choosing a tree. You'll be able to choose from tree species including pine, cedar, and fir.
North Shore Lake Tahoe - Incline Village Forest Service office.
855 Alder Ave., Incline Village, NV.
Hours are 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Wednesday through Friday.
More information - (775) 831-0914
South Shore Lake Tahoe - LTBMU Forest Supervisor's office.
35 College Drive, South Lake Tahoe, CA.
Hours are 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday.
More information - (530) 543-2694
Permits for the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest
The U.S. Forest Service (USFS) will be issuing Christmas tree cutting permits for the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest through December 24, or until permits are sold out. Households are limited to two $10 permits, which will be sold on a first come basis. Permits must be purchased in person with cash or a check; credit and ATM cards will not be accepted. You'll be able to cut white fir, Jeffrey and lodgepole pine, incense cedar, and other species in designated areas, including portions of Dog Valley, Mt. Rose, Markleeville, Woodfords, Hope Valley, and Wolf Creek. USFS Christmas tree permits are available at these locations during the hours listed:
Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest Headquarters
1200 Franklin Way, Sparks, NV 89431
Monday - Friday: 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Carson Ranger District Office
1536 S. Carson Street (US 395), Carson City, NV 89701-5291
Monday - Friday: 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Galena Creek Visitor Center
16750 Mount Rose Highway, Reno, NV
Friday, Saturday, Sunday: 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Hope Valley Café and Market
14655 Highway 88,Woodfords Canyon, CA.
Sunday - Friday: 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Saturday: 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Markleeville General Store
14799 Highway 89, Markleeville, CA 96120
7 days a week, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Permits from the Bureau of Land Management (BLM)
Permits from the Nevada BLM Carson City District are available for $5 each starting November 14. Permits are non-refundable and there is no limit on how many you can buy. Areas open to tree cutting 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 purchase a permit, maps and directions are available. BLM accepts phone credit card orders and check or credit card mail orders. You can get permits in person from these BLM locations, during the hours listed.
BLM Carson City District Office
5665 Morgan Mill Rd., Carson City, NV 89701
Monday - Friday: 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Saturdays (11/17, 11/24, 12/1): 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.
BLM Nevada State Office
1340 Financial Blvd., Reno, NV 89520-0006
Monday - Friday: 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Carson Valley Chamber of Commerce
1477 US Highway 395 North, Suite A, Gardnerville, NV 89410
Monday - Friday: 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Community Action Center - Hawthorne
701 E St., Hawthorne, NV 89415
Monday - Friday: 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
UNR Cooperative Extension Office - Fallon
111 Shekler Road, Fallon, NV
Monday - Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Cash or checks only at this location.
42500 U.S. Highway 50 (48 miles east of Fallon)
Daily: 7:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.
Cold Springs Station
52500 U.S. Highway 50 (62 miles east of Fallon)
Daily: 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.
Source: BLM Carson City District, USFS Carson Ranger District, Great Basin Institute, Washoe County Parks.