US Capitol Christmas Tree

Tree Cutting and Celebration Kicks Off Nationwide Tour for the 2019 U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree

Thursday, November 07, 2019

People from all over the Land of Enchantment witnessed the harvesting of the 2019 U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree from the Carson National Forest. The event, which was several months in the making, kicked off shortly after sunrise on Wednesday, Nov. 6, 2019.

Before the 60-foot blue spruce was harvested, an audience listened to remarks from several dignitaries, including Michelle Lujan Grisham, the Governor of New Mexico. She tells us about the pride she and other New Mexicans share about the public lands found in New Mexico. "New Mexico is incredibly proud of our beautiful forests and great outdoors," said the Governor. "It's such a privilege to share a small piece of our public lands with the nation’s capitol for this year's celebration."

Once the tree was cut from the ground, it was hoisted into the air by cranes provided by Wilbanks Trucking Services, LLC. The tree was then placed and secured onto a Kenworth W900 transport trailer provided by Hale Trailer and removed from the Carson National Forest to embark on a nationwide tour. The tour kicks off on Nov. 11 and will visit 30 communities before arriving in Washington, D.C. on Nov. 25, 2019.

 

This is not the first time the U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree was harvested from a national forest in the Southwestern Region of the USDA Forest Service. In 2009, a blue spruce tree was harvested from the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests in Arizona. An Engelmann spruce tree was harvested from the Santa Fe National Forest in 2005. The first U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree harvested from the Southwestern Region of the Forest Service was a blue spruce from the Carson National Forest in 1991.

Cal Joyner, Regional Forester of the Southwestern Region of the Forest Service, calls it an honor to provide the capitol with a Christmas tree once again. "Service is in our name, it’s one of our core values, it's an honor to serve all of you every day," Joyner said to onlookers at Wednesday’s harvest. "The Forest Service is excited to celebrate the diversity of New Mexico." Video of the 2019 Capitol Christmas Tree harvest is available on the Carson National Forest's Facebook page.

 

The U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree cutting and celebrations are made possible with donations of time and resources from companies large and small as well as volunteers locally and across America. Sponsors include Kenworth Truck Company, Wilbanks Trucking Services, LLC, Spireon, Inc., Elvis Duran & Alex Carr, Hale Trailer, Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, Great West Casualty Company, Meritor, Public Service Company of New Mexico, TravelCenters of America, Truckload Carriers Association, Husqvarna, Town of Red River, The Joy Trip Project, Alaska Airlines, Heritage Hotels & Resorts, Taos County, New Mexico Oil and Gas Association, Presbyterian Healthcare Services, National Forest Foundation, Red River Brewing Company, Christmas Tree Promotion Board, National Press Club, LexisNexis VitalChek Network, Inc., Bass Pro Shops, Red River Ski & Summer Area, Lifts West and MTC, Inc

To follow the tree during the journey to Washington, D.C., visit www.capitoltreetracker.com.

Gov. Lujan Grisham announces winner of 2019 U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree Essay Contest

Monday, November 04, 2019

Gov. Lujan Grisham and the Carson National Forest on Monday announced Asher Dean, a fourth grader from Arroyos del Norte Elementary in Arroyo Seco, as the winner of the 2019 U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree Essay Contest. 

Hundreds of essays were submitted to the contest, for which fourth graders from around New Mexico were invited to write about why they love New Mexico’s forests and public lands in line with the theme of the 2019 U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree, “Delivering Enchantment!” With his winning entry, Mr. Dean has won a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to travel to Washington, D.C., and join Gov. Lujan Grisham and the Speaker of the House in lighting the U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree.  

“New Mexico is proud to be providing this year’s Capitol Christmas Tree,” Gov. Lujan Grisham said. “I was so encouraged by the many wonderful essay submissions we received about the importance of New Mexico’s public lands and forests. Asher’s essay spoke so eloquently about the beauty he sees in New Mexico public lands, and I am thrilled that he’ll be joining me in our nation’s capital to see a beautiful tree from Northern New Mexico on display for so many to enjoy.”

Every year, U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Forest Service selects one lucky national forest to provide the best possible Christmas tree to place on the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol building. The tradition of the U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree, or the “People’s Tree,” began in 1964, and in 2019 New Mexico will be providing the tree for the third time.

This year’s tree, coming from the Red River area in the Questa Ranger District of the Carson National Forest, will be felled in a cutting ceremony on Wednesday, Nov. 6. The contest was organized in coordination with the U.S.D.A. Forest Service and supported by the non-profit organization, Choose Outdoors. 

 

Kenworth W990 Features Special Design for 55th U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree Tour

Thursday, October 31, 2019

A special Kenworth W990, sporting a dynamic graphics wrap, will transport the 55th U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree from the Nov. 6 tree-cutting ceremony in Carson National Forest in New Mexico to the tree-lighting ceremony in early December on the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol Building in Washington, D.C.

“When we were contacted to see if we would be interested in transporting the U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree, we were honored to even be considered,” said Shane Phipps, safety director for Wilbanks Trucking Services. “It didn’t take us long to say ‘yes.’ Everyone here is very excited about taking part in moving this special tree. While we’re a company that specializes in heavy haul, we’re also very experienced in moving oversized loads – and the U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree is just that. Moving the tree will be unique for us, but we’re more than capable. We’ll even be using our own multiple cranes to lift the tree onto the back of the trailer.”

Wilbanks employees Josh Garcia, Brum Stephens, and Josh Rice were nominated by their peers and selected by company leadership to drive the special Kenworth W990. “They’re excited not only for the tour, but for being able to drive the newest Kenworth,” he said. “We run close to 100 trucks in our operation, including several Kenworths, but the W990 is new, so our guys can’t wait to get behind the wheel.”

For the sixth consecutive year, a Kenworth truck will deliver “The People’s Tree.”

“Over the years, we’ve heard how special this trip is for the trucking company making the delivery, and how meaningful the tour is for adults and kids alike when the U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree makes its way through all the towns to Washington, D.C.,” said Laura Bloch, Kenworth assistant general manager for sales and marketing. “The annual lighting of the U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree is an important American tradition. The tour brings American pride to all those involved, and to all those who see the special tree traveling across America. We’re especially excited that the Kenworth W990 will again transport the tree.”

The W990, which is equipped with a 76-inch mid-roof sleeper, also features the PACCAR Powertrain with the PACCAR MX-13 engine rated at 455-hp and 1,650 lb-ft of torque, PACCAR 12-speed automated transmission, and PACCAR 40K tandem rear axles. The truck is also specified with the W990 Limited Edition interior, premium Kenworth GT703 seats and audio system, Kenworth Nav+HD, predictive cruise control, 1800W inverter, 180-degree swivel passenger seat, and Kenworth TruckTech+® Remote Diagnostics.

 

U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree to be Harvested from Carson National Forest Nov. 6, 2019

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

After nearly a year of planning, the time has come to harvest the 2019 United States Capitol Christmas Tree — a 60-foot blue spruce — from the Carson National Forest. USDA Forest Service is hosting two public events Wednesday, Nov. 6, in partnership with the Town of Red River and project sponsors, so New Mexicans can both witness and celebrate this important moment in the yearlong campaign.

Cutting Ceremony (Carson National Forest, meet at Red River Conference Center)
The cutting ceremony will take place at 9:00 a.m. within the Carson National Forest and include brief remarks by representatives from the Forest Service, New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, Choose Outdoors, New Mexico Tourism, local elected officials, and project partners. 

On Nov. 6, shuttles will bring attendees to and from the cutting, as parking is not available at the site. Those wishing to attend the cutting will meet at the Red River Conference Center and shuttles will run continuously starting at 7:30 a.m, with the cutting ceremony beginning at 9:00 a.m. Refreshments and bathroom facilities will be available. Once the tree is cut, it will be lifted by cranes provided by Wilbanks Trucking Services, LLC, and secured to a trailer provided by Hale Trailer before being transported out of the forest by a Kenworth W990. Attendees may remain and watch as the tree is loaded onto the trailer up until 11:30 a.m., when the last shuttle will depart to return to the Red River Conference Center. Attendees are advised that the event is outside and to dress appropriately for inclement weather, including rain or snow.

A live stream of the cutting will be available online on Facebook via CarsonNF and USCapitolChristmasTree will be shown at the Red River Conference Center and the Red River Brewery.

Community Celebration (Red River Conference Center, 101 River St, Red River, NM) 
The community celebration at the Red River Conference Center will take place from 12:00 – 3:00 p.m. The tree will be on display for the first hour, along with celebrations for Smokey Bear’s 75th anniversary and a Christmas cookie party. Children should bring their Christmas wish lists, as Santa Claus will be in attendance.

Both events are free and open to the public, and registration is not required. We hope you can join us in person or online! 

Wilbanks Trucking Services, LLC to Haul the 2019 U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree

Friday, August 23, 2019

 

The holiday season will be a little brighter this year with the help of Wilbanks Trucking Services, LLC, as it takes on the role of transporting the U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree to Washington, D.C. An annual gift to the nation, the 2019 tree will make its way to the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol building from the Carson National Forest in New Mexico. This is the second time a tree has been selected from the Carson and third time from New Mexico.

Wilbanks Trucking also will provide crane support as the tree is cut in early November and prepared for the 2,000-mile expedition, which will include a series of 30+ community celebrations and culminate with the official tree lighting in early December.

Wilbanks Trucking was chosen as the hauler for this year’s tree at the recommendation of Great West Casualty Company and based on industry reputation in New Mexico, according to Bruce Ward, president of Choose Outdoors, the non-profit partner that assists USDA Forest Service with coordinating the annual public engagement initiative.

Ronnie Wilbanks started the organization in 1987 with only a few trucks in the backyard in Artesia, NM and has since grown to employing 250 with additional locations in Hobbs, NM and Odessa, TX — weathering the storms of the boom and bust oil and gas industry. Many of Wilbanks’ trucks are custom built to assist in the construction of oil and gas rigs, and employees are experts in hauling oversized, overweight loads, making them the perfect fit to transport the U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree.

“Wilbanks is proud to provide everyday logistics services to transport the 2019 U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree, and to represent New Mexico and its diverse resources spanning from the Oil and Gas Industry in the Permian Basin, to its beautiful national forests in Northern New Mexico,” said Shane Phipps, Safety Director, Wilbanks Trucking Services, LLC.

Three Wilbanks employees will ensure the precious cargo is safely delivered, having been nominated by peers and selected by company leadership.

Josh Garcia is a second-generation employee whose passion for trucking started from the age of 6, riding along side with his father. Garcia’s father and uncle were the first two employees of Wilbanks Trucking in 1987. Garcia joined the team professionally straight out of high school in 2004. Starting as a swamper, Garcia obtained his CDL in 2006 and has obtained the skills to operate a gin pole truck, tandem, forklift loaders, and cranes. Promoted into management, his knowledge and skills in the rig moving industry have proved vital in overseeing daily field operations. Garcia says, “I feel honored to be selected as part of the transportation of the U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree. I have hauled thousands of oversized loads in the oil and gas industry, so hauling the Capitol’s Christmas tree will be an amazing opportunity and exciting challenge.”

Josh Rice has been a part of the Wilbanks organization for more than 15 years and driving commercial vehicles for 20 years. As a third-generation rig mover, he is passionate about his profession, primarily servicing the oil and gas industry of eastern New Mexico and west Texas. Rice has hauled over 10,000 oversized loads including sub structures and derricks which range in weight from 50,000 to 200,000 pounds. He is NCCCO lattice boom certified to operate crawler cranes as well as forklift certified, and can also operate gin trucks and tandems. Rice says, “I feel a great sense of responsibility to be able to participate in this annual tradition. Christmas is my favorite holiday! This grand tree represents family and tradition to millions of Americans across the United States, as I know it does for me. This adventure will definitely be one of the most unique and memorable hightlights of my career.”

Brum Stephens has hauled everything from cattle and cotton to farm machinery and steel beams. He started in the oilfield in 1996, originally selling drill bits before launching his own business in 2000 providing rental trailers, manlifts and field welders with trucking services and support on rig moves. Stephens ultimately sold to and joined the Wilbanks Trucking team in 2013. About the honor Stephens says, “Less people have hauled a Christmas tree to the Capitol than have won the lottery. This is my lottery win! It will definitely be something I will never forget, and something that my children and grandchildren can look upon and have a sense of pride.”

Kenworth Truck Company returns for a sixth year as a sponsor of the U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree program. A specially decaled Kenworth W990 will transport the 55th U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree. The Kenworth W990 is equipped with a 76-inch mid-roof sleeper and features the PACCAR Powertrain with PACCAR’s MX-13 engine rated at 455-hp and 1,650 lb-ft of torque, 12-speed automated transmission, and 40K tandem rear axle. The truck is also specified with the W990 Limited Edition interior, premium GT703 seats and audio system, Kenworth Nav+HD, predictive cruise control, 1800W inverter, 180-degree swivel passenger seat, and Kenworth TruckTech+® remote diagnostics. The W990 will provide a very comfortable work environment for this year’s tour drivers.

“Kenworth is proud to once again play a part in delivering the ‘People’s Tree’ to our nation’s capital,” said Kurt Swihart, Kenworth marketing director. “The cross-country tour offers the opportunity for people to see this national symbol of celebration, and the Kenworth W990 is the right truck for this important job.”

“The annual journey is only possible with the help of strong partnerships throughout New Mexico and beyond state lines,” said Ricardo Martinez, Deputy District Ranger, Carson National Forest. “We’re grateful for the resources Wilbanks Trucking and Kenworth Truck Company are providing to help make this the best tour to date.”

Additional transportation partners include Spireon, Inc., Truckload Carriers Association, Hale Trailer, Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, Meritor and LexisNexis VitalChek Network, Inc., in addition to local and national partners including Elvis Duran & Alex Carr, PNM Resources, Husqvarna, Alaska Airlines, Taos County, and Christmas Tree Promotion Board.

For related news, events and tour information, and to track the tree cross-country, visit www.uscapitolchristmastree.com, along with Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

 

Oregon Tourism Communications Program or Initiative Award Went to U.S. Forest Service, Willamette Valley National Forest, Choose Outdoors and the Willamette Valley Visitors Association

Monday, April 15, 2019

The Oregon Tourism Communications Program or Initiative Award, presented at the Oregon Governor’s Conference on Tourism in Eugene, commends an effective communications program or initiative that influences the positive reputation of an organization and inspires travelers as they choose destinations. This award celebrates the best domestic or international communications program or initiative that resulted in quality earned media coverage and inspired travel to Oregon.

The U.S. Forest Service, Willamette Valley National Forest, Choose Outdoors and the Willamette Valley Visitors Association were recognized for their work on the U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree Campaign. The 2018 U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree team, comprised of staff from the Willamette National Forest, Choose Outdoors, Travel Oregon, Weinstein PR, Willamette Valley Visitors Association, and many sponsors, collaborated to execute an incredibly successful nationwide campaign. The efforts of the team highlighted the value of experiencing and caring for public lands through the #ItsAllYours and the #FindYourTrail campaigns. In addition, visitors and locals were encouraged to get outdoors during the “Find Your Ornament” contest. The success of this project, including incredible media coverage totaling 284 stories reaching an audience of more than 438 million, was a direct result of bringing talented and creative team members in to achieve more together.

 


 

Papé and The Tree

Monday, December 10, 2018

 

“It’s hard to put into words the experiences I had — and continue to have — following the tree from the original site in the Willamette National Forest, through the State of Oregon Whistle Stops, and now on my way to D.C., to witness the lighting of the tree and festivities. For me, it’s been all about the people that have touched the process – the organizers, the sponsors, the U.S. Forest Service Team, the communities we visited – their pride in being a part of history – a reason to celebrate together.I look at my role as somewhat of an ambassador for Papé as I traveled through the State of Oregon – sharing information about Papé, our rich history in providing equipment and services for 80 years in the communities we live, and connecting with team members along the way.” — Heidi Coleman, Corporate Events Specialist

This event, as Heidi so eloquently stated, is not only a proud moment for Papé as our team traveled through Oregon, but an opportunity to impact our communities and home state during such an integral piece of U.S. holiday tradition. Connection, collaboration, and tradition - just a few words that come to mind when you ask various members of our company what Papé’s involvement has meant to them. For those that were able to attend either the tree cutting ceremony or any of the whistle stops, the sense of comradery and excitement was contagious. The time, effort, and sheer number of people it took to make this journey a success is an incredible feat and could not have been done without the support of every community that the U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree visited across the country.

The journey of “The People’s Tree” was an expression of the innovative and dedicated Oregonian spirit, that has been ingrained within the company ever since our founder acquired his first capital equipment dealership in Oregon’s Willamette Valley.

As Susie Papé, Papé Group Board Chair, fervently stated in her opening remarks for the tree cutting ceremony, this tree - “The People’s Tree” - commemorates Oregon’s independent spirit and beautifully varied landscape, celebrating our proud Oregonian roots.

“Let our tree be a gift from all Oregonians, that unites our nation in celebration, gratitude and reflection of our deep roots, that each American puts down in the name of freedom, civility, opportunity, and faith in one another.”

Our involvement in the Capitol Christmas Tree’s journey was second nature, as the tree was sourced from our own backyard, the Willamette National Forest. President of Papé Kenworth, Dave Laird, expressed the sentiment best:

“From the moment we became aware that the capitol Christmas tree was coming from Oregon we knew we wanted to be involved. With Kenworth providing the new W990 and Central Oregon Truck Company providing the drivers, it made perfect sense for us to join our partners to see the tree get to the capitol.”

 

The Capitol Christmas Tree project naturally coincided with the industries we serve. Our Papé Machinery, Construction & Forestry member J.R. Crownover delivered the equipment that made felling the tree possible. Papé Kenworth contributed the truck that was driven by our valued customer, Central Oregon Truck Company, and Papé employees at every level of our organization volunteered at and attended events from Oregon to Washington D.C. As a company we are dedicated to creating end-to-end solutions for our customers and we hope we provided the same support for the U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree team, U.S. Forest Service, and other partners.

While sponsoring this momentous occasion was a perfect fit for the company, it all stems from the sense of community that comes from working together toward a common goal. All of the conversations and comments from the public and members of Papé, bring up similar themes that our Marketing Coordinator, Cassidy Davis frames flawlessly, “it was so inspiring to see how the tree brought people and communities together. Across each city and at every stop, the tree was able to bring out the true spirit of the holiday season.”

It’s those aspects of inspiration, togetherness, and celebration that mean the most to us as people of the U.S., and as a company. We are so happy that we were able to provide support, encouragement, and participate in such a fantastic event, because, “it’s opportunities like this that make our jobs worthwhile, having the chance to be a part of not just Oregon, but U.S. history.” — John Woodruff, Director of Marketing.

 

 

Watch the project highlight video produced by FPW Media for The Papé Group

 

Group effort to get Oregon fir tree to West Lawn of U.S. Capitol deserves thanks

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

From Salem Statesman Journal - This week, Duck and Beaver fans, Republicans, Democrats, and Independents, boomers and millennials, and new and longtime Oregon residents alike united downtown to cheer for a silvery noble fir tree.

The now-72-foot long tree, which weighs more than seven tons, made a whistle stop in front of Oregon's Capitol before it begins a 3,000-mile trailer ride to the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., where it will be lighted for the holidays.

It's not often a crowd on the steps of Oregon's Capitol agree on anything. But during this inordinately chilly moment in time, Oregonians stood together and celebrated the mammoth fir tree cut from the Willamette National Forest.

The gift from Oregon to our nation appears ready for the trek. Plastic panels allow spectators along the way to view the top 24-feet of the tree adorned with ornaments handmade by Oregonians and other gifts from the Beaver State, including a bag of hazelnuts. The tree is cradled to prevent it from slipping and sliding during the journey.

Some background: Oregon narrows search for perfect Christmas tree for U.S. Capitol

Finding the perfect big tree: The U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree has been found in an Oregon forest, but it's a secret

Chopping it down: Oregon's 82-foot noble fir tree for US Capitol comes down without a hitch

Big tree needs big tree skirt: Here's what it takes to quilt a 14-foot Christmas tree skirt for a U.S. Capitol building

Contest winner: Oregon fourth-grader gets to light U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree

It has been wrapped with a 250-gallon vinyl bladder (bag) and sealed with a wax ring to keep it watered during the 17-day trip. Soaker hoses placed over the tree are designed to prevent branches from drying out during the trek. 

Timber! Willamette National Forest to Host Public Tree Cutting Celebration for the 2018 U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree

Monday, October 22, 2018

The 2018 United States Capitol Christmas Tree will be harvested from the Willamette National Forest on November 2, 2018. The Sweet Home Ranger District is hosting two public events so Oregonians can both see and celebrate this important moment in the yearlong U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree campaign.

Come join us to celebrate the cutting of the tree! Starting today, 50 lucky people who register here will be able to attend the tree cutting event. The number of public attendees is limited by the size of the area surrounding the tree, plus the need to accommodate tree-lifting cranes and a large truck. The event will include brief remarks by the Forest Service employees, local officials, and partners. Attendees will meet at River Bend County Park in Foster, Ore., at 9:00 a.m. and will be shuttled to the site, which is approximately one hour away on rural forest roads. The tree cutting will take place between 11:15 a.m. and noon. The tree will be cut with a saw donated by Husqvarna, and the tree-lifting crane and supporting equipment provided by The Papé Group and Axis Crane. Attendees will be shuttled back and should return to River Bend County Park by 1:30 p.m. While there will be tents and bathroom facilities, attendees will be outside the entire time and should be prepared for inclement weather, including rain or snow. For full event details, participant requirements and online registration, visit https://capitolchristmastree2018.eventbrite.com.

A second celebratory event will be held at River Bend County Park mid-afternoon, beginning at 1:30 p.m. A video of the tree cutting will be broadcast on a giant screen and light refreshments will be provided. This event is open to the public and registration is not required. There is no limit to the number of people who may attend. In attendance will be the “tree team” comprised of Forest Service officials, partners, and sponsors.

 

“We are thrilled to be able to share this exciting part of the U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree’ s journey with our fellow Oregonians. The people of Oregon have been instrumental to the success of this project. From the kindness of our cooperators to everyone who helped make ornaments and tree skirts, Oregonians have come together to send this beautiful Noble Fir and over 10,000 ornaments as a gift from the state of Oregon to the U.S. Capitol and all Americans,” said Nikki Swanson, U.S. Forest Service Sweet Home District Ranger.

After the tree is cut, it will come to Sweet Home where it will be prepared for the long journey east on a Kenworth W990 truck hauled by Central Oregon Truck Company with support from The Papé Group. The next step in the tree’s journey will begin on Friday, November 9, when it departs from Sweet Home, Ore. and begins its 3,000-mile road trip through Oregon and across the country to Washington, D.C. The theme for the 2018 U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree is “Find Your Trail!” in recognition of two 2018 anniversaries: the 50th anniversary of the National Trails System Act and the 175th commemoration of the Oregon Trail.

Accordingly, the tree will depart Oregon following the reverse path along the Oregon Trail with stops in Albany, Springfield, McKenzie Bridge, Oakridge, Bend, Detroit, Salem, Oregon City, The Dalles, and Baker City. A series of festive events will be hosted by communities along the way and attendees can sign banners on the sides of the truck, learn more about the Forest Service, purchase U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree merchandise and more. A complete schedule and list of special events is available at www.capitolchristmastree.com.

The trip to Washington, D.C. is made possible thanks to large and small companies and volunteers locally and across America who provide support of time and resources, including The Papé Group, KGW8, Kenworth Truck Company, Central Oregon Truck Company, SkyBitz, Oregon Forest Resources Institute, Hale Trailer, VanDoIt Adventure Vans, Alaska Airlines, Husqvarna, Meritor, Pilot Flying J, Truckload Carriers Association, Willamette Valley Visitors Association, Axis Crane, Eaton, Great West Casualty Company, the National Forest Foundation and the City of Sweet Home.

The U.S. Forest Service has provided the Capitol Christmas Tree every year since 1970. In January 2018, the U.S. Forest Service announced that the 2018 Capitol Christmas Tree would come from Oregon’s Willamette National Forest. The 80-foot noble fir tree was selected by a representative of the Architect of the Capitol in August. This will be the first time in the program’s 47-year history that a noble fir has been a U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree.

The tree will be displayed on the West Lawn of the Capitol Building in Washington, D.C., with a public tree- lighting ceremony in early December 2018. The last time Oregon was chosen to provide the U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree was in 2002, when a tree was selected from the Umpqua National Forest.

 

Seventy smaller companion trees will also be sent to Washington, D.C. from the Willamette National Forest to decorate government buildings and public spaces this December. Additionally, Oregonians will contribute 10,000 handmade ornaments.

Announcing the 2018 U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree Tour

Tuesday, October 02, 2018

Sweet Home, Ore. – October 2, 2018 – Every year a different National Forest is selected to provide a tree to appear on the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol for the Christmas season. This year, the Willamette National Forest, in partnership with nonprofit agency Choose Outdoors and Travel Oregon, will bring this special gift from Oregon to Washington, D.C. for the 2018 holiday, by way of cross-country tour involving more than 25 communities along the way. The 2018 tour announcement is appropriately timed to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the National Trails Systems Act, one of the inspirations for the 2018 theme of “Find Your Trail”. 

On Friday, Nov. 2, the tree will be cut and prepared for the more than 3,000-mile journey that commemorates the second inspiration – 175th anniversary of the Oregon Trail – by following a reverse path of the trail. A series of festive events will be hosted by local communities at museums, main streets, city halls, state capitols, markets, retailers, high schools, and even a parade. Attendees will have the chance to sign banners on the sides of the truck to wish the tree well, learn more about the Willamette National Forest and the great state of Oregon, purchase U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree merchandise and more.

Host communities include:

  • Friday, Nov. 9: Sweet Home High School, 1641 Long St, Sweet Home, OR 97386 (12:00 p.m. Street Fair, 6:00 p.m. Parade and 7:30 p.m. Program)
  • Saturday, Nov. 10: Linn County Circuit Court, 300 SW Fourth Avenue, Albany, OR 97321 (9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.)
  • Saturday, Nov. 10: Cabela’s, 2800 Gateway Street, Springfield, OR 97477 (4:00 – 5:30 p.m.)
  • Sunday, Nov. 11: McKenzie River Ranger Station, 57600 McKenzie Highway 126, McKenzie Bridge, OR 97413 (10:30 – 11:30 a.m.)
  • Sunday, Nov. 11: 48257 E. 1st , Oakridge, OR 97463 (2:30 – 4:30 p.m.)
  • Monday, Nov. 12: 450 SW Powerhouse Dr., Ste 422, Bend, OR 97702 (11:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.)
  • Monday, Nov. 12: 160 Detroit Ave, Detroit, OR 97342 (5:00 – 7:00 p.m.)
  • Tuesday, Nov. 13: Oregon State Capitol, 900 Court St NE, Salem, OR 97301(10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.)
  • Tuesday, Nov. 13: Oregon City, OR
  • Wednesday, Nov. 14: The Dalles City Hall, 313 Court Street, The Dalles, Oregon 97058 (9:00 – 10:00 a.m.)
  • Wednesday, Nov. 14: Baker City, OR
  • Friday, Nov. 16: City Hall, 911 North 7th Avenue, Pocatello, ID 83201 (9:00 – 10:00 a.m.)
  • Saturday, Nov. 17: Ft. Bridger State Historic Site, 37001 Isthmus Loop I-80 Fort Bridger, WY 82933 (9:00 – 10:00 a.m.)
  • Sunday, Nov. 18: 975 Snowy Range Road, Laramie, WY 82070 (9:00 – 10:00 a.m.)
  • Sunday, Nov. 18: Scottsbluff, NE including parade route from 23rd St. to 17th Street on Broadway and ceremony on the 1700 block of Broadway (6:00-7:00 p.m.)
  • Monday, Nov. 19: Otoe County Courthouse, 110 South 11th, Nebraska City, NE 68410 (6:00 – 7:00 p.m.)
  • Tuesday, Nov. 20: Perry High School, 404 Lecompton Rd, Perry, KS 66073 (12:00 – 1:00 p.m.)
  • Tuesday, Nov. 20: MHC Kenworth, 1524 N. Corrington, Kansas City, MO 64120 (4:00 – 5:00 p.m.)
  • Wednesday, Nov. 21: Independence Uptown Market, 201 W. Truman Rd, Independence, MO 64050 (9:00 a.m. – 10:00 a.m.)
  • Thursday, Nov. 22: 2018 Ameren Thanksgiving Day Parade, 7th Street and Market Street, St. Louis, MO (8:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.)
  • Friday, Nov. 23: The Harrison Pavilion, 101 Harrison Avenue, Harrison, OH 45030 (2:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.)
  • Sunday, Nov. 25: Andrews Air Force Base, 1500 Perimeter Rd. Joint Base Andrews, MD (11:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.)
  • *The locations of stops are subject to change. All times are approximate and do not account for unforeseen weather and traffic delays. Monitor website at capitolchristmastree.com/tour for the latest updates.

The official tree lighting will occur in early December as determined by the Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives. This is the first tree selected from the Willamette National Forest and the second tree to come from Oregon.

The trip to Washington, D.C. is made possible thanks to large and small companies and volunteers locally and across America who provide support of time and resources, including Pape Kenworth, KGW8, Kenworth Truck Company, Central Oregon Truck Company, SkyBitz, Oregon Forest Resources Institute, Hale Trailer, VanDOit Adventure Vans, Alaska Airlines, Husqvarna, Meritor, Pilot Flying J, Truckload Carriers Association, Willamette Valley Visitors Association, Axis Crane, Eaton, Great West Casualty Company, the National Forest Foundation and the City of Sweet Home.

For tour information, event details, news and updates, and to track the tree cross-country, visit www.capitolchristmastree.com or www.fs.usda.gov/willamette.