JOHN DAY – Ready to put up that Christmas tree?

Permits are on sale now at Malheur National Forest for people who want to harvest their Christmas trees on the local forest.

The permits cost $5 each, and one permit must be attached to each tree transported from the forest. There’s a maximum of five trees allowed per household.

The permits allow people to take trees, of any species, that are shorter than 12 feet. However, trees cannot be taken from Forest Service nurseries or plantations, or within 150 feet of highways and 300 feet of streams.

On the Malheur, Christmas tree hunters will find pine at the lower elevations and firs and cedars in high country.

The rules are spelled out on the permits, which are available at these locations:

• Malheur Forest Supervisor’s Office and Blue Mountain Ranger District, 431 Patterson Bridge Road, John Day. Hours are 7:45 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. weekdays.

• Prairie City Ranger District, 327 SW Front St., Prairie City. Hours are 8-11:30 a.m. and 12:30-4:30 p.m.

• Emigrant Creek Ranger District, 265 Highway 20 S., Hines. Hours are 8 a.m. to noon and 12:30-4:30 p.m.

Forest officials urge tree harvesters to check weather and road conditions before setting out, and tell friends where they are going. In addition, dress warmly and carry water, food, tools and a first-aid kit.

Tree permits also are available for the Umatilla and Wallowa-Whitman national forests at ranger districts and in some businesses in those forest communities. The price also is $5 each, but limited to one per household.

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