An evergreen Christmas tree can be found in the Bitterroot National Forest, but you need a tree permit. Tod McKay of the Forest Service says the permit is only $5 and you can get them at any Bitterroot National Forest Service office (Darby, Hamilton, Stevensville). They are also available at local businesses - Bob Wards, Murdoch's and Lone Pine Conoco in Hamilton, Merc Fresh Market in Corvallis, Mr. T's in Darby and Stevensville's Cenex. Cash or personal check only. The permit allows up to 3 trees per family.

Make sure you know where you are when you cut a tree. You might need to consult a Bitterroot National Forest map. Don't cut in a campground or a developed recreation area. Don't "top a tree." The stump should be less than 8 inches high. Try to find an overcrowded area. By cutting there, you give the other trees more room to grow. After cutting, attach the permit tag and take it home. Store it in a cool place until you're ready to set it up. At that time, cut an inch off the bottom and give it plenty of water. If you keep the water coming, the tree should last about 5 weeks.