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Oh Christmas tree

Jeff Gildehaus of the U.S. Forest Service assesses a lodgepole pine tree as he hunts for the Beartooth Ranger District's office Christmas tree in 2015.

For those who want to cut their own Christmas tree this holiday season, here's where permits for the Custer Gallatin National Forest are available.

All seven ranger district offices in Bozeman, West Yellowstone, Livingston, Gardiner, Red Lodge, Ashland and Camp Crook, South Dakota, will have permits available from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday for $5 each, with a limit of three permits per household. Permits are sold in person and cash, check, or debit and credit cards are accepted.

Permits are also available at these local community businesses:

  • Livingston: Ace Hardware.
  • Gardiner: Gardiner Market.
  • Red Lodge: Sylvan Peak Mountain Shop.
  • Absarokee: Rockin J Gas Station.
  • Billings: Cabela’s and Ace Hardware (Heights location).
  • Ekalaka: Carter County Conservation District.
  • Belgrade: Town and Country Grocery and Belgrade True Value.
  • Bozeman: Owenhouse Ace Hardware (downtown store bicycle shop and W. Main St. store), Murdoch’s Ranch & Home Supply.
  • Four Corners: Murdoch’s Ranch & Home Supply.
  • Big Sky: Big Sky Conoco.
  • West Yellowstone: Corner Cenex.

In South Dakota at:

  • Bison: Perkins County Conservation District.
  • Buffalo: Harding County Conservation District.
  • Lemmon: Grand River Ranger District Office.

In North Dakota at:

  • Bowman: Bowman/Slope Soil Conservation Service.

A permit can also be purchased for gathering personal-use boughs. Permits, maps, forest road access updates and tree species identification guides are available at each ranger district office.

Those with a permit may cut a Christmas tree anywhere on the Custer Gallatin National Forest except in campgrounds, trailheads, designated wilderness areas, developed recreation sites, posted timber sale units, recently planted locations and administrative sites. Permits are also valid for any national forest in the Northern Region, which includes all of Montana, northern Idaho and portions of North and South Dakota. 

For more information, contact any Custer Gallatin National Forest office or for general forest information visit online at

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