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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Forest Service offering Christmas tree permits

From staff reports

Christmas tree hunting season is here.

The U.S. Forest Service is offering permits for people who want to go into the woods and bring home their own wild Christmas tree s.

Permits for trees on the Idaho Panhandle and Colville national forests cost $5, and they can be purchased at some retailers and online at Those who buy permits online will pay a $2.50 processing fee in addition to the cost of the permit.

Permit-holders are allowed to take home one tree per permit. On the Panhandle forest in North Idaho, households are allowed up to three trees that are 12 feet tall or shorter. On the Colville forest in Washington, the limit is two trees per household.

Trees that are harvested must not be visible from a road, and they must be at least 150 feet from streams. Permits are only valid on Forest Service land. Cutting is prohibited in wilderness areas, designated recreation sites and in areas that have been thinned. Tree plantations and active timber sale areas are also off limits.

Cutting down western red cedar or whitebark pine trees is prohibited.

Maps that detail where tree-cutting is allowed in each forest are available on

Idaho nonresident hunting tag sales begin Dec. 1

Washington residents planning to hunt deer and elk in Idaho next season will have a chance to buy their tags next week.

The Idaho Department of Fish and Game announced last week that deer and elk tags for nonresidents will go on sale at 10 a.m. on Dec. 1.

Hunters can buy the tags in person at license vendors or Fish and Game regional offices. They can also buy them online at, through the state agency’s mobile app or by calling (800) 554-8685.

Idaho Fish and Game expects high demand on the first day of sales, and there are a limited number of tags available. In the announcement, agency officials wrote that hunters should expect long wait times and a slow system.

The agency is advising people looking to purchase for more than one person online that tags can only be made for the person who is logged in.

It also said that purchase confirmation emails may take 12 to 24 hours to arrive due to the volume of purchases.

Tags will be mailed to buyers within 15 business days.

Lake Roosevelt announces winter plans

Access and services will be limited this winter at the Lake Roosevelt National Recreation Area, but visitors will still be able to head there to take in the great outdoors.

Skiers and snowshoers will be able to explore the recreation area through the season, but camping and other services will be limited.

The National Park Service announced this week that parts of three campgrounds will stay open through the winter: loop 1 at Kettle Falls, loop 1 at Fort Spokane and the lower loop at Spring Canyon.

Reservations are required for the campsites. Those can be made upon arrival with adequate cell service or they can be made in advance at or by calling (877) 444-6777.

Water service is unavailable. Vault toilets will be open, but they will be cleaned on a limited basis, according to the Park Service.

Dumpsters and trash cans have been removed, and the federal agency is asking visitors to plan to pack their trash out.

Snow removal and sanding services run until March 31 when there are 2 inches or more of snow. Plowing takes place as needed at the boat launches at Kettle Falls, Gifford, Fort Spokane, Keller Ferry and Spring Canyon.

From staff reports