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In support of Every Kid in a Park, beginning November 23 the Salmon-Challis National Forest will offer one free holiday tree cutting permit to fourth graders who present a valid paper or durable Every Kid in a Park pass. The fourth grader must be present at the time the permit is issued.

The free holiday tree cutting permit for the fourth graders will be available on the 23rd at all Salmon-Challis National Forest district offices in Challis, Mackay and Leadore, the Public Lands Center in Salmon. The free holiday tree cutting permit will not be available at local vendors.

Tags must be picked up before cutting your tree. The tag may be used in any open area administered by the Salmon-Challis National Forest.

The U.S. Forest Service is among the federal agencies that support the Administrationís Every Kid in a Park initiative, a nationwide call to action to build the next generation of conservationists. The initiative provides a free pass to all fourth-grade students who first go to and complete the application process. Students can either use a paper pass or can redeem the paper pass for a durable pass at select federal lands.

Guidelines for cutting your free tree include:

No cutting within 300 feet of campgrounds, streams, lakes or ponds.

Cut your tree at least 100 feet away from either side of any main road, including 200 feet from US Highway 93 and 1/3 mile from the roadside of the Salmon River Road (Forest Road #030).

Cut tree below the lowest whorl or limbs. Do not cut trees that measure 8 inches or greater in diameter at the 4 Ĺ feet mark.

No topping of trees is allowed.

Areas where cutting is prohibited:

Pass Creek Narrows - Lost River Ranger District, Mackay

Research areas and Signed Timber Stale Areas

Wilderness areas

Any tree plantation

Once you have selected and cut your tree, place the tag around the stem or a branch of the tree before transporting. The tag must be signed and attached to the tree in such a manner that removal will destroy the tag. Caution is advised on snow covered roads. In many places, four-wheel drive or chains may be needed. Be prepared for cold weather conditions or emergencies that may present themselves by being outdoors during winter months.

Keep your tree in water while indoors to maintain freshness, reduce fire hazards and to enjoy its beauty throughout the holiday season. If the base dries out, resin will form over the cut end and the tree will not be able to absorb water causing it to dry out quickly. Most fresh-cut trees should last at least five weeks before drying out if properly cared for.

The Salmon-Challis National Forest wishes you a happy holiday season and hopes the Every Kid in a Park will help to inspire every young person in the Butte, Custer, and Lemhi County areas to visit the Salmon-Challis National Forest

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