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U.S. Forest Service Offers Free Christmas Trees For Fourth-Graders
Updated November 22, 2016 6:36 AM
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(UNDATED) - This winter Smokey Bear and Santa Claus are teaming up to bring some holiday cheer to fourth-graders across the country.

As part of the national Every Kid in a Park initiative, the U.S. Forest Service is excited to announce that all fourth-graders are eligible for a free Christmas tree permit from the U.S. Forest Service now through Dec. 24.

Every Kid in a Park is a national effort to encourage children to visit national parks, forests, and public lands and waters. By introducing fourth-graders to public lands in their backyards and beyond at an early age, the innovative Every Kid in a Park initiative delivers a nationwide call to action to build the next generation of outdoor stewards of our country's spectacular and diverse federal lands and waters. As the leaves fall and temperatures drop, the Forest Service is encouraging fourth-graders and their families to take part in winter recreation on national forests, including harvesting the family Christmas tree.

In order for students to receive a free tree permit, they must present a valid paper voucher printed from the Every Kid in a Park website:

  • Step 1: Visit www.everykidinapark.gov and follow instructions to obtain the paper voucher.
  • Step 2: Print out the paper voucher.
  • Step 3: Bring the paper voucher to a U.S. Forest Service office near you to claim the free permit.

If you are not a fourth grade student, you can still purchase a permit to cut your own Christmas tree for $5. Contact your local U.S. Forest Service office for more information.

Traditionally, fees are not charged on 98 percent of national forests and grasslands, and approximately two-thirds of developed recreation sites in national forests and grasslands can be used for free. Many recreation opportunities such as camping, sightseeing and hiking can be enjoyed throughout the year at no cost.The U.S. Forest Service is an agency of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, a mission of sustaining the health, diversity and productivity of the nation's forests and grasslands to meet the needs of present and future generations. The Forest Service's Eastern Region includes 20 states in the Midwest and East, stretching from Maine, to Maryland, to Missouri, to Minnesota. There are 17 national forests and one national tallgrass prairie in the Eastern Region. For more information, visit www.fs.usda.gov/R9.

The U.S. Forest Service manages 193 million acres of public land, provides assistance to state and private landowners, and maintains the largest forestry research organization in the world. Public lands the Forest Service manages contribute more than $13 billion to the economy each year through visitor spending alone. Those same lands provide 20 percent of the nation's clean water supply, a value estimated at $7.2 billion per year. The agency has either a direct or indirect role in stewardship of about 80 percent of the 850 million forested acres within the U.S., of which 100 million acres are urban forests where most Americans live. For more information, visit www.fs.fed.us.

USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer and lender. To file a complaint of discrimination, write: USDA, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, Office of Adjudication, 1400 Independence Ave., SW, Washington, DC 20250-9410 or call (866) 632-9992 (Toll-free Customer Service), (800) 877-8339 (Local or Federal relay), (866) 377-8642 (Relay voice users).



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