The annual hunt begins Monday for many families who trudge through federal forestlands each holiday season in southwestern Oregon for that perfect Christmas tree.

The annual hunt begins Monday for many families who trudge through federal forestlands each holiday season in southwestern Oregon for that perfect Christmas tree.

The $5 personal-use permits to be sold until Christmas Eve are good for the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest and the U.S. Bureau of Land Management's Medford District. Maps with directions to cutting areas will be provided.

Each year about 8,000 Christmas-tree permits for personal use are sold in the region.

Permit holders can harvest any tree species shorter than 12 feet on public lands. In the higher elevations, conifers such as Shasta red fir and noble fir are the preferred species.

Christmas tree cutting is not permitted within the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument, the Wild and Scenic Rogue River corridor and recreation areas such as the Table Rocks, developed campgrounds and picnic areas. Cutting also is prohibited in posted tree plantations or within 200 feet of state highways.

Trees should be cut as close to the ground as possible and not more than a foot above the ground. In addition, another tree should be ground as possible and not more than a foot above the ground. In addition, another tree should be growing within 12 feet of the tree being cut.

Once a tree is cut, the permit should be validated by cutting out the year and date indicated. The permit should be securely attached to the trunk before the tree is transported.

One household is limited to one permit but a person can purchase up to five permits, officials said, noting that several families often team up for the annual excursion. Neither the permits nor the trees can be resold.

The personal-use Christmas tree permits for the national forest and the BLM's Medford District are available in the following areas beginning Monday:

APPLEGATE VALLEY — Star Ranger Station, 6941 Upper Applegate Road, Jacksonville, 899-3800; Outpost Farm and Garden, 181 Upper Applegate Road, Jacksonville.

ASHLAND — Siskiyou Mountains Ranger District, 645 Washington St., Ashland, 552-2900; Ashland Mountain Supply, 31 N. Main St., Ashland, 488-2749.

BROOKINGS — Gold Beach Ranger District office in Brookings beginning Dec. 3, 14433 Highway 101 S., Brookings; Chetco Outdoor Store, 16220 Hoffeldt Lane, Brookings, 469-9151.

BUTTE FALLS — High Cascades Ranger District, 730 Laurel St., Butte Falls, 865-2700.

CAVE JUNCTION — Wild Rivers Ranger District, 26568 Redwood Highway, Cave Junction, 592-4000; Shop Smart, 205 W. Watkins, Cave Junction, 592-3333.

EAGLE POINT — Midway Country Store, 5600 Butte Falls Highway, Eagle Point, 826-4893.

GOLD BEACH — Gold Beach Ranger District, 29279 Ellensburg Ave., Gold Beach, 247-3600; Rogue Outdoor Store, 29865 Ellensburg Ave., Gold Beach, 247-7142.

GRANTS PASS — Grants Pass Interagency Office, 2164 N.E. Spalding Ave., Grants Pass, 471-6500; Ol' Champion Sports Outlet, 401 S.E. Sixth St., Grants Pass, 479-6414.

MEDFORD — Medford Interagency Office, 3040 Biddle Road, Medford, 618-2200; Black Bird Shopping Center, 1810 W. Main St., 779-5431.

PROSPECT — High Cascades Ranger District, 47201 Highway 62, Prospect, 857-0928; Cascade Gorge Store, 2651 Mill Creek Drive, Prospect, 560-4144.

SHADY COVE — Shady Cove Hardware, 21103 Highway 62, Shady Cove, 878-4960.

TRAIL — Sunset on the Rogue, 26876 Highway 62, Trail, 878-3330.

UNION CREEK — Union Creek Resort, 56484 Highway 62, Union Creek, 560-3565.