BOISE, Idaho — It’s time to start thinking about getting a Christmas tree.

Many people enjoy heading to the mountains to cut down a tree. 

Starting Saturday, Nov. 23, vendors for the Boise and Payette national forests will begin selling Christmas tree permits.

Permits will be available for pickup at forest district offices and the visitor information center at 1387 South Vinnell Way in Boise, starting on Monday, Nov. 25.  All tree permits are valid to Dec. 25.

The cost of a permit for one tree is $10. The maximum height of a permitted tree is $12. Permits are valid in both the Boise and Payette national forests. Families can purchase up to three permits. Permits are not refundable. The purchaser must be at least 18 years old.

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You can get information about where a Christmas tree may be harvested, restrictions and helpful tips at the forest offices.

Fourth graders who are participating in the “Every Kid Outdoors” program can receive a free permit. The U.S. Forest Service is among several federal agencies that supports the program, which is a nationwide call to action to build the next generation of outdoor enthusiasts.

Kids must complete the voucher online, print it and bring it along with a parent to the Forest Service office. Free Christmas tree permits cannot be sent through the mail or electronically.

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Officials want to remind the public that forest roads are not plowed and can become a safety concern when snowfall occurs in southwest Idaho. Some areas may be closed early to Christmas tree gathering.

Be sure to call ahead and check websites for road conditions before heading out.

To provide for family safety, officials advise a few simple guidelines:

• Use the brochure with instructions provided.
• Practice winter survival and driving techniques.
• Bring the right tools, such as a saw and a shovel, so the tree can be cut to within 6" of the ground's surface.
• Take along emergency equipment, plenty of food and water, and try to use a 4-wheel drive vehicle if you are planning to travel in snow country.
• Always inform neighbors and family friends of the route you intend to take, include a map of your destination, and the time that you plan to be gone.
• Be prepared for the possibility of a long hike or snowmobile ride while searching for the perfect tree.
• According to Idaho state law, any vehicle carrying a load that extends more than 4 feet past the tailgate, must display a red or florescent orange flag tied on the end of the load to caution other drivers.