The Black Hills Travel Blog

Black Hills Christmas Tree Permits Available

By • Nov 10th, 2010 • Category: Culture

623. Christmas tree in the Black Hills of South Dakota

It’s that time of year again. Well, almost that time of year. One holiday at a time, I guess. Even though we’ve just recently gotten our first real taste of winter here in the hills, and Thanksgiving is still a couple weeks away – it’s almost Christmas tree time.

I got a note this morning from the Forest Supervisor’s Office reporting that Black Hills Christmas tree tags are now available for the 2010 season. Have you ever wanted to make like Clark Griswold, fire up the four-wheel drive sleigh and go cut down your own fresh Christmas tree in the woods? Here’s your chance.

Christmas tree permits will be available at most Black Hills Forest Service offices in western South Dakota and northeast Wyoming. White spruce, ponderosa pine and western juniper trees are available to cut with a purchased permit.treetag200. Christmas tree in the Black Hills of South Dakota

Each lime green permit comes with a handout from the Forest Service, with details about proper tree removal. Trees may not be cut in developed recreation sites, Forest Service administrative sites, active timber sales, the Black Hills Experimental Forest near Rochford, the Black Elk Wilderness, the Beaver Park area near Sturgis, or within Spearfish Canyon.

Individual permits cost $10, and that “perfect tree” that you choose to cut must be no more than 20 feet tall. Permits require that you cut the entire tree, leaving no more than six inches of stump, and that you cut unused branches so they lay flat on the ground. The adhesive permit tag must be attached before a tree is removed from the woods. There are no refunds for uncut trees or unused permits, and all permits expire December 31st.

To obtain a permit by mail, send your request to the Forest Supervisor’s Office, 1019 North 5th Street, Custer, SD 57730. Enclose a check or money order in the amount of $10 for each tree permit, up to a maximum of five permits per individual. Your permit(s) and cutting instructions will arrive by mail.

Please note that Forest Service offices do not accept credit cards, and that all Forest Service offices will be closed on Thanksgiving Day. Wednesday, December 22nd is the last day permits will be sold at most Forest Service offices.

Unless otherwise noted, tree permits are available now through December 22, 2010.

Permits are available at the following locations:

  • Black Hills National Forest Office,Custer. 605-673-9200
  • Black Hills National Forest Office, Newcastle WY. 307-746-2782
  • Black Hills National Forest Office, Rapid City. 605-343-1567. Permits available 11/22 – 12/22
  • Black Hills National Forest Office, Spearfish. 605-642-4622. Permits available 11/18 – 12/22
  • Black Hills National Forest Office, Sundance WY. 307-283-1361
  • Nebraska National Forest Office, Highway 18 Truck Bypass, Hot Springs SD. 605-745-4107. Permits available 11/22 – 12/22

Christmas tree permits will also be available from seven private vendors:

Minitman Too (formerly Buckstop)
611 East Jackson Boulevard, Spearfish, SD
Permits available 11/18 – 12/22

Cenex Convenience Store
2030 Lazelle Street, Sturgis, SD
Permits available 11/18 – 12/22

Deadwood History & Information Center
3 Siever Street, Deadwood, SD
Permits available 11/18 – 12/22

Rapid Stop Conoco
20059 West Highway 14/Junction of Highway 14 and I-90, Sundance, WY
Permits not yet available. Call 307-283-2240 for details

Hardware Hank
770 Mountain View Road, Rapid City, SD
Permits available 11/22 – 12/22.

Mistletoe Ranch
23835 Highway 385, Hill City, SD
Permits available 11/22 – 12/22.

Johnson Siding General Store
12300 West Highway 44, Rapid City, SD
Permits available 11/22 – 12/22.

About the Author

is a resident of Spearfish, S.D. He grew up in the tall-corn state of Iowa, where he developed an early interest in all things outdoors. After high school he moved to Vermillion, S.D., where he earned his bachelor’s degree in public relations and advertising. During his college years, two things caught his attention: the beauty of western South Dakota’s Black Hills and a girl from those Black Hills. After graduating from college, Joe traveled across the country as a recruiter for the University of South Dakota. He saw the sights from Pittsburgh to Las Vegas and everywhere in between, but it was the Black Hills (and the girl) that kept drawing him back. He and wife moved back to the Black Hills in 2008. He's an avid hiker, mountain biker and road cyclist whose future plans include trying to fit a pair of kayaks into the spare bedroom.
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