Hunt down a wild Christmas tree


There’s still time to head into the hills and get your family a wild-caught, organic, free-range Christmas tree.

Olympic National Forest sells $5 permits that allow you cut down the perfect tree among the millions. Therein lies the biggest challenge in getting your tree this way – too many choices. My advice: get a tree map at a ONF ranger station, pick a logging road, drive a few miles, park and dive in.

I cut down a nice one in ONF near Quilcene last weekend after I finally stopped at random and charged up a hill. That’s my 11-foot Doug fir in the photo (right of center) above.

A few more tips:

  • The only special equipment you’ll need are a small saw and rope for tying the tree down to your roof. Dress warmly and maybe pack a thermos of hot chocolate.
  • Be ready for the conditions. It could be snowing in the higher elevations, and don’t forget that it gets dark before 5 p.m. these days.

Really, it’s all quite simple, and I’m surprised more people don’t do this. I’m writing a larger story on this topic for the weekend, but with Christmas only nine days away, I wanted to give a little more of a heads up.

You can get permits at the following locations:

  • Hood Canal Ranger District Office in Quilcene, (360) 765-2200
  • Hoodsport Visitor Information Center, (360) 877-2021
  • Forks Visitor Information Center, (360) 374-6522
  • Pacific Ranger District Office in Quinault, (360) 288-2525


3 thoughts on “Hunt down a wild Christmas tree

  1. We used to do this when my stepdaughter and nieces were young. It was so much fun! We would bring a thermos of hot chocolate and some snacks along. It was just a fun outing!

  2. We harvested our tree in 2011 near the steel bridge on the skokomish river. It started snowing and we ended up chosing a hemlock tree. I think we were the only people in kitsap that had a hemlock that year, or any year for that matter. Coming from Arizona, I thought the tree attractive, not unlike the charlie brown christmas tree in the cartoon classic.

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