Who May Apply for a Free Christmas Tree?
Any person, who is 19 years or older and resides in British Columbia is allowed to cut a
Christmas tree free of charge from Crown lands after obtaining a Christmas Tree Permit.
This provision does not pertain to persons having suitable Christmas trees on their private
Where Can I Apply?
You can download a pre-approved Christmas Tree Permit from the link at the bottom of this page. You can also obtain a permit at the Okanagan Shuswap District office at 2501 - 14th Avenue
(behind Kal Tire on Kal Lake Road) in Vernon, or the Penticton Field Office at 102 Industrial Place. You must carry your Christmas Tree permit with you as you
may be asked by a Forest Official to produce it.
Where do I Cut a Tree?
areas, you can only cut a tree from areas designated for this purpose. These areas may
be: the Crown land portions of the following:
- Hydro rights-of-way (Crown-land portions only) except areas where Christmas trees are
being grown commercially.
- Logging roads (within three metres - 10 feet-of the edge of the road).
- Open range lands.
Cut your tree from dry, rocky sites or south slopes within the permitted areas. They produce
better Christmas trees.
Are There Areas Where I Must Not Cut Christmas Trees?
Yes, you cannot cut a Christmas tree from:
- Private lands
- Research areas
- Juvenile-spaced areas
- Any other areas alienated or reserved for a special use
How Many Trees Can I Cut?
You are allowed to cut the number of trees specified on the permit, at the time you pick it up, up
to a maximum of 3 trees per family. Cutting Christmas trees free of charge is strictly for
personal use. You are not allowed to sell them. Failure to comply is an unauthorized harvest
on Crown land under Section 52 of FRPA. Unauthorized cutting may be further subject to prosecution under the Criminal Code of Canada.
What Species of Tree Should I Cut?
This depends on your location. Usually Douglas-fir on dry sites produces the best Christmas
trees. However, lodgepole pine, spruce, balsam and other minor species may be designated for
cutting where Douglas-fir is not available.
What Should I do Before Cutting a Tree?
- Make sure you have chosen the best tree and the size you want.
- Try to leave the bottom one or two branches on the stump of the tree, which may grow
into another Christmas tree for future cutting.
- Do not cut a big tree only to use the top portion. This may be a waste of a future tree
and the portion left on the area will create a fire hazard.
What Should I do After Cutting a Tree?
- Leave the area as clean as possible.
- Do not leave lower boles and branches of cut trees alongside roads or in the ditches. Lop them
close to the ground and scatter.
- Do not transport your tree outside the province.
An orderly cutting of Christmas trees, without unnecessary waste, will help you to enjoy the
holiday season, and will ensure growing continuous crops of timber for future generations.
Christmas Tree Free Use Permit
A copy of the Free Use Permit for Cutting a Christmas Tree for personal use, is available in PDF format (229Kb). If you currently do not have Adobe Acrobat Reader, you can download a free copy from the Adobe Acrobat Reader download page.
Christmas Tree Free Use Permit
District maps are available for purchase from the following vendors:
Canada Map Store
Operated by Highland Imaging
PO Box 37055
2401F Millstream Rd
V9B 0E8 Canada
Thank you for your co-operation.
The staff and management at Okanagan Shuswap District
wish you and your family a safe and joyous holiday season
and a healthy and prosperous New Year!