The rules changed dramatically in 2008. It used to be that people filed an application and a fee with the Forest Service, which then held a drawing to determine who got to go to one of our national forests and cut down a Christmas tree. No more. Since the new program was deemed a success, it will continue in 2013. Tags for Christmas tree cutting will be sold at both Forest Service offices and a local sporting goods store, and it's first come, first served. That means no lottery system. If all the tags sell out on the first day, then you're out of luck. That's not likely to happen, though, since there are thousands of tags available this year.
If you purchase a permit this year, let me know how it went. Tags go on sale starting Saturday, November 9, 2013. Check here for the tag sale locations, fees, and other guidelines.