Since being in Montana, we’ve been trying to embrace local traditions like cutting down a Christmas tree in the National Forest. Here are some details and photos if you’d like to see…
Growing up we would cut down trees at a tree farm in upstate New York, but had never done it in National Forest- National Lampoon style! I was certain we’d end up frozen and walking miles but it was actually very simple and really fun for everyone.
We first had to get a permit with three issued per family maximum. Here in Montana you can get them at the forest service office, and some hardware stores as well. I think it cost $2.50 for the permit (crazy to think normally we pay over $100 for a half dead tree from a lot!). There are rules to follow, but it’s also a great way to help prevent out of control forest fires.
We headed out into Gallatin National Forest (just 15 minutes south of Bozeman) armed in snow clothes with sleds, a simple saw, and straps for the roof of the car. It was the day after Thanksgiving, and a popular day to cut down a tree. Driving up we saw dozens of cars coming down with trees on the roofs and truck beds.
Finding a side road, we jumped out and the kids started sledding down a hiking trail path.
I thought it would have been hard to find a tree the right size, shape, and good looking enough but we were surrounded by them! It was a beautiful reminder how perfectly imperfect nature is just by itself.
Attempted a family photo with a timer HA. But really, we had such a blast. Have you cut down a tree in a National Forest before?