In a place as blessed with natural resources as Alaska, folks aren’t limited to buying a Christmas tree from a stand in the corner of a supermarket parking lot. Instead, you can venture into the great outdoors, find just the right tree for the holidays, and cut it yourself.
Before you go
During the holiday season, the Alaska Division of Forestry allows residents to cut Christmas trees on certain unrestricted public lands, without a permit or payment of a fee, as long you follow some guidelines.
Check the Division of Forestry website for maps and closures before you go.
These are our favorite places to find the perfect tree for Christmas in Alaska!
The Matanuska Valley Moose Range is 130,000 acres of prime moose habitat. It also has plenty of evergreens to make for a festive holiday in your household but make sure that you are not cutting down trees in restricted areas. Just look out for moose on your adventure.
In the interior, the Tanana State Forest offers the best chance for a happy Christmas tree quest. Keep your eyes open for posted plantations that are closed to tree cutting.
Folks celebrating Christmas in the Adventure Capital of Alaska, Haines, and throughout the Chilkoot, Chilkat, and Ferebee River valleys can head into the Haines State Forest to find the perfect tree. Check with the forest office or ranger before heading out to see if there are any restrictions on where you can cut.
Alaska’s newest state forest includes almost 46,592 acres acres of woods in and around Wrangell Island. The Southeast State Forest is contiguous with the Tongass National Forest, and has a similar temperate rain forest climate, with tremendous old-growth trees.
As the “backyard national forest” for most Alaskans, the Chugach National Forest embraces the holiday tradition of cutting your own Christmas tree. The forest will allow your household to cut one tree per holiday season without a permit and free of charge. Be sure to check the website for season dates and closures before you head out.
Tongass National Forest covers a 500-mile stretch of southeastern Alaska, with a total area about the size of West Virginia. As the world’s largest temperate rainforest, it’s a delicate ecosystem. So, take some time to appreciate the huge old-growth trees and stunning landscapes as you make the trek for your Tannenbaum. You will need to get a permit to cut a Christmas tree in the Tongass National Forest from a Forest Service office or ranger station.
On the peninsula, hunting a Christmas tree in the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge is a gorgeous way to spend a weekend day. Plan to spend some time in the refuge and enjoy its winter splendor before cutting your tree. One tree is allowed per household, and no permit or fee is required during the posted season. Only hand tools may be used to cut trees in the refuge.
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National Forest/Refuge Christmas Tree-Cutting Guidelines
Don’t just grab a saw and head into the woods. There are some guidelines and advice that you should follow.