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Boreal Community Media

Seasonal Forest Products Available from the Superior National Forest

Sep 27, 2023 09:03AM ● By Content Editor
Photo: USDA Forest Service

From the US Forest Service - Superior National Forest - September 27, 2023

With the official first day of fall last Saturday, the Superior National Forest (SNF) is reminding interested parties that forest product permits will be available soon for your holiday decoration and more. Cutting your own holiday tree or gathering balsam boughs can be a special family tradition. You must keep your permit with you during your forest products gathering. Information on forest products permits is located at:

Holiday Trees

Holiday/Christmas tree permits go on sale beginning October 12, 2023–January 6, 2024, from at: Tree Permit Cost is $5 per tree. 

Please be aware of the following guidelines and restrictions:

  • Make sure you are on National Forest System land, but not within the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. Maps can be viewed or purchased at Forest Service offices.
  • Choose cutting areas away from plantations, developed recreation or administration sites, and Research Natural Areas.
  • Walk/snowshoe/ski well off the roadside to select your tree. Select a tree the correct size for your home. Do not cut the top off of a taller tree. The maximum stump height is 12 inches.
  • There is a two tree per household limit.
  • Every Kid Outdoors offers a free Christmas tree tag to all 4th graders. Find out more at:

Balsam Boughs

Balsam bough permits are available at your local SNF office for personal and commercial use. See a full list below or on our website at:

  • All bough cutting parties must have a permit. Parties can have up to five pickers listed. If you are cutting boughs for personal (non-commercial) use, you may purchase a permit for $20 and cut enough boughs for five wreaths. If you are picking commercially to supply commercial manufacturers, there is a minimum permit fee of $50 for two tons. Additional tons may be harvested at $25.00 per ton. See additional rules on your permit.
  • Make sure you are on National Forest System land, but not within the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. Maps can be purchased at Forest Service offices.
  • Walk/ski/snowshoe at least 50 feet off the roadside, trail, lake, or recreation area before selecting the trees from which to harvest. Harvest boughs from trees that are greater than 7 feet high. Never fell trees to harvest boughs. You may only harvest branches from the lower half of the tree. Leave a portion of each pruned branch for regeneration.
  • Harvested branches should have ends that are no larger in diameter than a pencil. As you harvest along the branch, leave part of the branch for growth and regeneration. Cutting at a fork will leave one side of the fork for regeneration.
  • Harvesting of Princess Pine is not allowed on the Superior National Forest.

Firewood Permits

The SNF offers year-round firewood permits for $20 at any of its offices (see below). See information below for select free areas for firewood due to the September storm. 

Please be aware of the conditions of the permit:

  • It is the permittee's responsibility to make sure they are on SNF lands. ONLY Down trees within 100ft of the centerline of the Forest Service roads listed on the permit are allowed. All firewood products cut must be no longer than 6 feet in length. Trees marked with paint, tags or signs may not be removed but can be cleared.
  • Forest products obtained under "free use" are for personal use only and cannot be sold or exchanged. (36 CFR 261.6(f). Now through September 30th, the Forest is offering free firewood permits at select storm damage locations: Free Wood Permits for Storm Locations Press Release
  • Permit must be in permittee's possession while harvesting and transporting products. Permit is nontransferable.
  • Permit and activities hereunder are subject to all applicable Federal statutes and regulation, State and local laws. The Forest Service reserves the right to unilaterally revoke the permit for Permittee's noncompliance with its terms or in the public's interest.
  • Permittee shall remove all trash and litter resulting from permittees activities.
  • The use of tractors, rubber-tired skidders, or similar vehicles is not allowed. Close any road barricade when leaving if applicable. No rutting or ground disturbing activities.

Using an OHV or Snowmobile on the SNF

Off-Highway Vehicles (OHVs), including ATVs, dirt bikes, etc. must travel on roads and trails designated for this use. OHVs are not allowed to travel cross country on National Forest System lands within the Superior National Forest. However, snowmobiles may be used cross country in most areas as well as on designated trails and unplowed roads provided there is 4 inches of snow cover. Check with the office issuing your holiday greens permit for more specifics regarding use of OHVs and any other restrictions in the area you plan to visit.

The Superior National Forest is managed in Five (5) districts, with a Supervisor’s Office:

  • Supervisor’s Office, Duluth: 218-626-4300
  • Gunflint District Office, Grand Marais: 218-387-1750
  • Kawishiwi District Office, Ely: 218-365-7600
  •  LaCroix District Office, Cook: 218-666-0020
  • Laurentian District Office, Aurora: 218-453-8650
  • Tofte District Office, Tofte: 218-663-8060