est Service offices throughout Central Oregon will begin selling permits to harvest Christmas trees from the Ochoco and Deschutes National Forest starting Nov. 23. The permits can be purchased for $5 at Forest Service offices and retail outlets throughout Central Oregon.
   Permit holders can harvest any tree species shorter than twelve feet on National Forests. They cannot cut trees within Forest Service nurseries and plantations, or within 150 feet of highways or 300 feet of streams.
   Christmas tree harvesters can find pine trees near Bend and Sisters at lower elevations, and firs and cedars in higher country. Pines around Prineville grow on south and west slopes, whereas firs typically grow on slopes facing north or east.
   The publication “Guidelines for Collecting Your Christmas Tree” and instructions printed on permits give additional information about Christmas tree harvesting. Be sure to have a Motor Vehicle Use Map as well. Forest Service officials also recommend the following:
   Check weather and road conditions before departing.
   Dress warmly, pack water, food, tools and a first-aid kit.
   Let friends know your travel plans and expected return time.
   Equip party members with a signal whistle and be aware of each other’s location.
   Drive a well-maintained vehicle that is fully equipped for winter driving.
   For more information on Christmas tree permits, contact Beckie Zimmerman, Deschutes and Ochoco Special Forest Products Program Coordinator, at 541-383-5590.
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