Harvest permits on state lands

DNR forester and landowner walking in landowner's woodlands

You do not need a permit to collect small amounts of berries, mushrooms, or cones from a State Forest for personal use. You also do not need a permit to collect dead fuelwood for fires while in a State Forest.

However, you must obtain a permit from a DNR Forestry office to:

  • Cut or remove any trees or plants for any reason. (birch bark, birch sticks, trees and shrubs)
  • Remove wood from state land boundaries.
  • Collect a large amount of berries, mushrooms, or dead fuelwood for personal use or sale.
  • Tap trees for maple syrup for personal use or sale.
  • Harvest Christmas trees, decorative tops, or boughs in State Forests.
    • Make sure you call ahead and inquire about the process with the local DNR Forestry office.
    • You must know the location where you want to cut a tree before getting a permit.
    • It may take a few days to process your permit. Please plan accordingly.
    • DNR offices are closed on Thanksgiving Day and the day after, plus weekends.
    • Payment by check is accepted. No credit cards. No cash.
    • Wild, naturally-grown Christmas trees might be a bit spindly or sparse. They are not groomed or shaped – like the trees you can buy at a tree farm or lot.
    • State forests from Hinckley to Aitkin and further north have balsam fir or white spruce, which are often desired for Christmas trees. Sand Dunes and Rum River state forests, while close to twin cities, do not have suitable Christmas trees.
  • Other options for Minnesota grown trees:

Read more about the license and permit requirements for harvesting decorative forest products.

DNR Forestry offices may issue permits for harvesting items in State Forests and on other DNR Forestry- or Wildlife-managed land, including:

  • Wildlife Management Areas
  • Consolidated county lands
  • Forestry-acquired lands
  • Trust fund lands

Permits must be obtained from the DNR Forestry office closest to the State Forest or DNR Forestry- or Wildlife-managed land on which you wish to collect items.

If you wish to harvest materials or specimens from a State Forest for scientific research purposes, please submit a research application so that we may direct you to the appropriate permits for your work.

For more information, contact your local DNR Forestry office.

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