Families are taking to cutting their own Christmas tree in national forests, like Dixie National Forest in Utah, a tradition that brings people into the forests and benefits the trees' health.
CNN  — 

The US Forest Service wants you to leave the artificial tree in its box this year. Instead, it recommends, cut your own Christmas tree in a national forest – a tradition that’s good for the forest, too.

Over 75 national forests in the US allow visitors to cut their own Christmas tree, from Olympic National Forest in Washington state to Ocala National Forest in Florida. They’re not all home to evergreen firs, but their unique tree species make fine Christmas displays.

It’s healthy to thin forests of some smaller trees. With fewer trees, there’s less competition for sunlight and other resources and more room for the forest’s flora to grow.