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Land Between The Lakes Offers Free Cedar Christmas Trees



Many of us have laughed at the Griswold family's Christmas tree hunting foray in "Christmas Vacation." Now, the Land Between The Lakes (LBL) National Recreation Area is giving families the opportunity to come outdoors in search of their very own cedar Christmas tree by offering free Christmas tree permits.


The permit, valid until December 24th, entitles a family to cut one cedar tree at no charge. Permits, maps, and cutting guidelines may be obtained from the Administrative Office, 8am-4:30pm, Monday-Friday, and at the Golden Pond Visitor Center, 9am-5pm, Saturday and Sunday. On December 24, Christmas Eve, the Administrative Office will tentatively close early to allow staff to spend time with their families.  Visitors are encouraged to obtain permits before noon. 

"Taking the family out into the woods to look for the perfect Christmas tree is a great holiday tradition. Check along roadsides or within old forest openings to find your tree,” suggested Forester, Dennis Wilson. “The cedar tree program also helps LBL by maintaining open lands and promoting diverse wildlife habitat.”

Cedar trees may be cut anywhere in LBL except areas within sight of US68/KY80 or Woodlands Trace National Scenic Byway, cemeteries, the Nature Watch Demonstration Areas, campgrounds, lawns, or other mowed areas.

Whether families cut or purchase a tree, they should follow these safety guidelines when using a cut tree in their home at Christmas.

  1. Choose a fresh tree. If the needles are brown and fall off easily, the tree is dry and can easily catch on fire.
  2. Check for squirrels. You want to laugh at "Christmas Vacation," not live it.
  3. When setting up your tree, cut the base off two inches above the original cut to help the tree absorb more water.
  4. Place the tree in a stable, tip-proof container and water it daily.
  5. Place the tree away from heat sources such as heating vents or wood stoves. 
  6. Be sure decorative lights are UL approved and in good condition. Never leave tree lights on while you are asleep or away from home. LED lights are a great way to save energy.
  7. Discard the tree when it begins to show signs of drying, such as brown or yellow color, and excessive needle dropping.

Come Outside and Play at Land Between The Lakes National Recreation Area. Managed by the Forest Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Land Between The Lakes, in partnership with “Friends of LBL,” provides outdoor recreation, lake access, and environmental education for the public to enjoy. Visitors are encouraged to review LBL’s official website at often for Calendar of Events, updates on programs and policies, safety information, maps, temporary trail and road closures, and additional LBL information, or call 800-LBL-7077 or 270-924-2000. Follow LBL on


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