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Bring a little bit of the Superior National Forest home with you this holiday season

Dec 07, 2018 06:41AM ● By Editor

By Kristina Reichenbach of the Superior National Forest from The Cook County News Herald - December 7, 2018

You can bring a bit of the national forest home with you this holiday season: Permits to cut a Christmas tree or gather balsam boughs on national forest system lands may be purchased from the USDA Forest Service.

Christmas tree permits: Stop by any Superior National Forest office to obtain a permit for a Christmas tree. A permit to cut one Christmas tree costs $5. Two permits are allowed per household per year.

Balsam boughs permits: To obtain a permit for bough gathering, contact the Forest Service office closest to the area where you plan to collect. A “personal use” permit for gathering balsam boughs on the Superior National Forest allows for enough boughs to make approximately five door-size wreaths and costs $20. If you plan to harvest a large number of boughs, a commercial permit must be purchased.

There are a few things to know before you go out to gather boughs or cut a Christmas tree. Be sure you know where Superior National Forest lands are. Parcels of state, county, tribal and private lands are intermixed with national forest lands within the forest boundary.

Visitor maps of the Superior National Forest which show land ownership are available for $14 at all forest offices and also via the internet. Cutting of trees and boughs is not allowed inside the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, plantations, recreation areas, or administrative sites.

Make your tree-cutting or gathering outing a safe and enjoyable experience by following these tips:

• Arrive early at your cutting area as it may take longer than you think to find that special tree. Bring snacks and water as well.

• Check the weather outlook and be ready for changing conditions. Carry tire chains, shovel, flashlights, and blankets in your vehicle, plus rope to tie down your tree. Many national forest roads are not maintained or snowplowed during the winter, so be sure that your vehicle is equipped for winter travel and has a full tank of gas.

• Wear proper winter clothing and carry extras in case you get wet. You might be warm, dry, and comfortable when you start, but you may get tired and cold as the day wears on.

• Let someone know where you are going and when to expect you back. Check in when you return.

• Don’t rely on your cell phone for directions or communications as it may not work in many areas of the forest.

• Keep aware of your location. Bring a map, compass, or GPS technology and know how to use it.

• Watch for other traffic on the road and on the trails and be aware that hunting season may still be under way.

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