Deputies stopped two men in a pickup in Stayton earlier this month, as they carried almost 4,000 pounds of fir boughs from the Willamette National Forest.

The Marion County Sheriff's office says 3,800 lbs of fir boughs were taken from the Willamette National Forest without a permit, for commercial holiday decorations.

The Marion County Sheriff’s office says 3,800 lbs of fir boughs were taken from the Willamette National Forest without a permit, for commercial holiday decorations.

Marion County Sheriff’s Office

The Marion County Sheriff’s Office said Jose Lucas Lucas, 42, and Juan Lucas Perez, 31, were charged with the Unlawful Cutting and Transport of Special Forest Products.

That case is one example of what law enforcement units are warning people about. Authorities say they’re watching the woods this holiday season for people taking Christmas trees and other forest products without a permit.

Steven Baker with the U.S. Forest Service said it’s important for people to get a permit before taking anything from a forest.

“Harvesting of special forest products is allowed in most national forests. But often a permit is required. And each forest is unique and has different rules for special forest products,” Baker said.

Forest products that need a permit can include everything from huckleberries to firewood, bear grass and even pine cones.

Baker said people who are heading out also need to remember safety. Things like Christmas trees are often found in remote areas that don’t have cellphone service. He said people should go early, bring a map, check the weather and let other people know where and when they’re going. 

It’s not just the U.S. Forest Service that’s trying to reduce theft. The Bureau of Land Management, Oregon Department of Forestry and private timberlands are also governed by laws over their resources.