US Capitol Christmas Tree News

Governor Polis, Forest Service Celebrate U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree from Colorado

Monday, July 27, 2020

Delta, CO – Governor Jared Polis with USDA Forest Service Acting Regional Forester for the Rocky Mountain Region, Jennifer Eberlien, Director of Communications and Sponsorships, Jodi Massey and Director Cathy Ritter from the Colorado Tourism Office, announced the kick-off of the 2020 Capitol Christmas Tree project. Governor Polis and special guests encouraged Coloradans to “Experience Your Nature”, the theme of this year’s tree, and get involved with making an ornament for the tree.

“I’m thrilled that one of Colorado’s magnificent Engelmann Spruce is heading to Washington D.C. to represent our state at the U.S. Capitol during the holidays this year,” said Governor Jared Polis. “Coloradans are proud of our state’s natural beauty, forests, and incredible outdoor spaces, and I’m glad the rest of the country will be able to see a small piece of the majesty that Colorado offers. While this is a difficult time for people across our state and across the country, I hope that Colorado’s contribution to the national Christmas spirit can help bring us all together.”

Every year since 1970, USDA Forest Service has provided the U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree. Several smaller, companion trees will also be sent to Washington, D.C., to decorate government buildings and public spaces. Providing the U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree, also known as “The People’s Tree,” is a great honor for the State of Colorado and the Grand Mesa, Uncompahgre and Gunnison (GMUG) National Forests. It provides an opportunity to highlight the state’s breathtaking cultural and natural resources and Colorado’s world-class recreational settings and activities. The tree will be displayed on the west lawn of the U.S. Capitol Building in Washington, D.C., with a public tree-lighting ceremony in early December 2020.

“The GMUG is honored and excited to be providing the U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree. The GMUG plays an important role in Experiencing Your Nature and we look forward to highlighting all that the GMUG has to offer. We are thrilled about the opportunity to work with and showcase the great state of Colorado” said Acting Regional Forester, Jennifer Eberlien.

“We sincerely hope the gift of this towering tree from Colorado for the Capitol lawn helps inspire deep pride in America the Beautiful and happiness throughout the holidays, while showcasing the splendor of Colorado’s Mountains and Mesas region," said Colorado Tourism Director Cathy Ritter."

The U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree initiative is made possible with cash and in-kind contributions from companies large and small as well as volunteers locally and across America, who provide vital support of time and resources. Sponsors include Kenworth Truck Company, Apex Transportation, Spireon, Inc., Hale Trailer, Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, Truckload Carriers Association, Great West Casualty Company**, LexisNexis VitalChek Network, Inc., TravelCenters of America, Montrose County Event Center and Bass Pro Shops.

The Forest will be working closely with Choose Outdoors for the project along with a host of other partners, sponsors and volunteers who will contribute funding and thousands of hours to help make ornaments and transport the tree from Colorado to Washington, D.C.

“The annual journey is only possible with the help of strong community partnerships throughout Colorado and beyond state lines,” said Bruce Ward, President of Choose Outdoors. “We’re grateful for the time and resources that are generously provided to celebrate our public lands and help bring hope and joy to the nation.”

Communities will be encouraged to share the experience of caring for, decorating and transporting this gift from Colorado to Washington D.C. For more information on how to get involved and follow the excitement visit the Capitol Christmas Tree website at https://www.uscapitolchristmastree.com.

 

"Christmas in July” themed night at Isotopes Park this Friday

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

From NewMexico.org: The New Mexico Tourism Department announces the Albuquerque Isotopes home game on Friday, July 26, 6:35 pm, will be themed “Christmas in July” to celebrate New Mexico’s contribution of the U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree for 2019.

“We’re very fortunate that New Mexico was selected to supply the Capitol Christmas Tree for 2019 because this provides the opportunity to showcase New Mexico’s forests, outdoor experiences, and state pride on a national level,” said Tourism Secretary Jen Paul Schroer. “We encourage all New Mexico residents to share their state pride by participating in ornament-building workshops and attending one of the many road stop events scheduled throughout New Mexico later in November when the tree begins its journey to Washington D.C.”

Families are encouraged to visit an ornament-building booth in the concourse where they will have the chance to create an ornament that will be displayed on the U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree when it makes its way to Washington D.C. later this year.

The first 2,400 fans through the gates will also receive a free New Mexico True t-shirt.

The 2019 U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree was selected from the Carson National Forest near Questa, NM. This will be the third time New Mexico will be supplying the U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree. New Mexico first supplied the tree in 1991 from the Carson National Forest, and again in 2005 from the Santa Fe National Forest. New Mexico residents who are interested in partaking in events and celebrations regarding the U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree or tracking the tree’s eventual journey to Washington D.C. are encouraged to visit www.uscapitolchristmastree.com for more information on how to participate.

2018 U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree from Willamette National Forest to Be Selected This Week by Architect of the U.S. Capitol

Wednesday, August 08, 2018

 

The 2018 United States Capitol Christmas Tree campaign has reached a new phase of its official process this week. A representative of the Architect of the Capitol is visiting the Willamette National Forest to review candidate trees and to select the Capitol Christmas Tree, which be displayed on the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol in December. Making the trip from Washington, D.C. is Jim Kaufmann, the Director of the Capitol Grounds and Arboretum at the Architect of the Capitol, the federal agency responsible for the operations and care of the U.S. Capitol buildings and grounds.

Together with the local “tree team,” which includes foresters and a botanist, Kaufmann is currently evaluating tree candidates and will select the 2018 U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree, although the winning tree and its location will be kept secret for security reasons until it is cut down in early November.

Kaufmann will be evaluating each tree for a variety of desired characteristics, including being 65-85 feet in height, having a straight stem, uniform branching, a perfectly conical shape, natural density, and rich green color. Each of the tree candidates is either a Douglas or Noble fir tree, the two most iconic conifer species in both the Willamette National Forest and the state. The Douglas fir is Oregon’s official state tree. Also of great importance is the tree’s accessibility by crane and semitruck for when it’s time for it to be harvested. Additionally, the U.S. Forest Service is evaluating each location to ensure the protection of sensitive habitats and species.

“Oregon is known around the country for its spectacular natural beauty, including its incredible national forests. It’s a privilege to visit the Willamette National Forest to select the 2018 Capitol Christmas Tree,” said Kaufmann. “I have no d
oubt that we will find the perfect tree for the West Lawn of the Capitol, and we’re thrilled to have Oregon be an important part of the nation’s holiday celebration this year.” “It’s very exciting to have reached this stage of the yearlong U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree process, which started in January when the U.S. Forest Service announced that the Willamette National Forest had been selected to provide the 2018 U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree,” said Nikki Swanson, Sweet Home District Ranger. “We have identified some absolutely beautiful candidates that will represent the State of Oregon perfectly, and we look forward to unveiling the winning tree in November, as we tour it along the Oregon Trail on its way to Washington, D.C.”

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. A gift from the Willamette National Forest and the State of Oregon to the people of the United States, 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, to be created throughout 2018. There is still a great need for weatherproof ornaments that are nine to twelve inches in size to decorate the Capitol Christmas tree. Information on upcoming ornament making events, plus a template for creating one at home, is available online.

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. In November, the U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree will travel eastward from Oregon on the reverse path of the Oregon Trail. The schedule and special events will be announced this fall. There is still a chance for people to win a trip for two to Washington, D.C., to attend the U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree lighting and festivities through the “Find Your Ornament” contest. Earlier this summer, 200 glass ornaments were hidden along non-wilderness trails on the Willamette National Forest for lucky adventurers to find. In addition to a keepsake ornament, more than 120 winners will be awarded prizes, and all entrants will be automatically entered to win the grand prize trip to Washington, D.C. The contest runs through October 2, 2018. Further details are available at the Willamette Valley Visitors Association.

 

 

 

Find your trail, find the tree, and find your way to D.C.!

Friday, June 15, 2018

Summer is here and it's the perfect time to get outside and explore a forest near you. If you live in or plan to visit Oregon anytime soon, there are two exciting additional incentives to hit the trail. 

Two weeks remain to submit a candidate tree to be considered for the Capitol Christmas Tree! The public is invited to hike and drive the Willamette National Forest- to the east of the City of Sweet Home-to look for the perfect tree. To submit a potential candidate tree, GPS the location, snap a photo, and send the submission to capitolchristmastree2018@gmail.com, or drop your information off at the Sweet Home Ranger District Office, 4431 Hwy 20, Sweet Home OR 97386. Download a flyer containing all of this information here!

While you're out looking for the perfect tree, also be sure to look for one of 200 glass ornaments hidden along non-wilderness trails on the Willamette National Forest for lucky adventurers to find. In addition to a keepsake ornament, over 120 lucky winners will be awarded prizes and all entrants will be automatically entered to win the grand prize: a trip for two to Washington D.C. to attend the U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree lighting and festivities. Visit Willamette Valley Visitors Association to learn more

Happy hunting!

 

Help wanted: decorate the tree

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

 

The Willamette National Forest's Sweet Home Ranger District will be sending one large Capitol Christmas tree and 75 smaller companion trees back to Washington, DC to adorn the Capitol buildings for the 2018 holiday season. That means a lot of decorations! We need your help to create a total of 10,000 handmade ornaments to send to our nation's capital to decorate these Christmas trees. There are several ways to get involved:

Attend an ornament making event

The Willamette National Forest and its partners will be staffing ornament making booths at the following events. We’d love to have you join us! A list of events is below, or can be downloaded as a part of this flyer.

  • Sweet Home Chamber Awards Banquet Dinner** - April 7 from 5-6PM, Sweet Home Boys and Girls Club
  • Oregon Ducks Football Spring Game** - April 21, Moshofsky Center, Eugene
  • Oakridge Tree Planting Festival – May 5th from 11AM - 3PM, High School Track
  • Free Fishing Day - June 2 at 10AM, Timber Linn Park (Albany), Detroit Lake, Willamette Fish Hatchery (Oakridge)
  • Sweet Home Safety Fair - June 23 at 9AM , Sweet Home Police Department
  • Emerald (EMS) Baseball Game** - July 25 from 6-9PM, PK Park, Eugene
  • Sportsman's Holiday - July 14 at 10AM, Sweet Home High School
  • Oregon Jamboree** - August 3-5, Sweet Home High School
  • Sweet Home Community Health Fair - August 18 from 10AM - 2PM, Sweet Home High School Activity Center
  • Oregon State Fair** - August 25 and September 1 from 10AM – 5PM , Salem
  • Harvest Fest - Saturday October 13 from 10AM - 2PM Sankey Park, Sweet Home

** indicates events that require an entrance fee

Host your own event!

We are in search of groups, schools, organizations and individuals who'd like to host their own 2018 Capitol Christmas Tree ornament making events. Any ornaments made will help us reach our goal of 6,500 small ornaments and 3,500 large ornaments to adorn the Capitol Christmas trees in Washington DC!

Download this brochure for specifications and themes. For ornament ideas, check out our photos and instructions posted here. Keep in mind these are just ideas; feel free to get creative!

Ornaments should reflect Oregon's cultural heritage, historical events or people and our natural resources. Let's show the nation why we are proud to be from Oregon! Ornaments must meet the following specifications:

Small Ornaments Large Ornaments
    4-6 inches in size
    Reflective & Colorful
    Lightweight & Durable
    No Logos
    9-12 inches in size
    Reflective & Colorful
    Lightweight & Waterproof
    No Logos
All ornaments must be received by October 1, 2018. They can be dropped off in person at any one of our drop locations located here or mailed to the Sweet Home Ranger District at: 4431 Hwy 20, Sweet Home OR 97386.


For more information, or to ask additional questions, please contact Stefanie Gatchell or Nancy Shadomy at the Sweet Home Ranger Station: 541-367-5168 or capitolchristmastree2018@gmail.com.

Tester Teams up with Bozeman Sixth Grader to Light the U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree

Wednesday, December 06, 2017

 

Published by Senator Jon Tester, December 6, 2017

(West Lawn, U.S. Capitol) - U.S. Senator Jon Tester kicked off the holiday season tonight alongside Bozeman sixth-grader Ridley Brandmayr as they lit the U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree.

"When Senator Tester called my dad and told me, it didn't feel real. It took about five minutes for it to sink in," Brandmayr said. "But it definitely became real tonight and it was an experience I will never forget."

The 79-foot Engelmann Spruce traveled nearly 3,500 miles from Montana's Kootenai National Forest to grace the lawn of the U.S. Capitol building-making stops in 13 Montana cities along the way. As the senior Senator from the tree's home state, Tester was tasked with selecting the tree lighter and helping organize this year's celebration. He asked Ridley after the Bozeman sixth grader lost his right hand in a tragic accident earlier this year. Tester lost three fingers on his left hand in a similar accident when he was a kid.

"This tree has been growing in Montana for decades - enduring brutal fire seasons, and braving harsh winters. It's reached almost 80 feet tall, nourished by Montana's rich soil and sustained by clean mountain water." Tester said. "This tree is more than a symbol of the natural resources the Treasure State has to offer - it represents our shared history, intertwined with our outdoor heritage and our Montana values."

The event was co-hosted by Speaker of the House Paul Ryan and also featured the other two members of Montana's Congressional delegation. On hand were dozens of folks who helped shepherd the tree from Montana to D.C.

"The selection and delivery of the Capitol Christmas tree from the Kootenai National Forest has been an extreme honor for the Forest Service and State of Montana," said Sandi Mason, the Kootenai Forest's Capitol Christmas Tree project leader. "We have met a ton of fantastic people across this great country of ours and this will be a journey that we will never forget. We are proud to display the tree, along with all of the ornaments and tree skirts that were handmade by people from all over the State."

Others in attendance included Larry Spiekermeier of Whitewood Transportation, the man who drove the tree across nearly a dozen state over the course of a two-week journey. Spiekermeier is a two-time Montana Motor Carriers "driver of the year" who hails from Plains, Montana. He will celebrate a half century on the road next year.

The tree was decorated with nearly 3,000 handmade ornaments from folks across Big Sky country. It was flanked by a custom tree skirt quilted by Shawna Crawford of Lewistown and topped by a five-foot tall copper star commissioned by the Washington Companies of Missoula, fabricated by Split Mountain Metal of Belgrade, and lit by Western Montana Lighting of Missoula.

Since 1970, a different national forest has been chosen each year to provide the U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree. The last tree to hail from Montana was a Subalpine Fir from the Bitterroot National Forest in 2008. The Kootenai National Forest also provided "The People's Tree" in 1989.

Watch a livestream of the event HERE.


 

All is bright: Capitol Christmas Tree will be topped with Montana-made star

Monday, November 13, 2017

The 5-foot tall copper star is the first to come from the state supplying the U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree, and features a representation of Montana’s state flower, the bitterroot. The star is made from copper as a nod to the rich copper mining tradition of Butte, Mont. It was designed, planned, and funded by the Washington Companies, fabricated by Split Mountain Metals, and lighted by Western Montana Lighting.

    

 

Companion Trees Help tell the Story of the Kootenai

Thursday, November 02, 2017

 

In addition to the 79 foot Englemann Spruce, nearly 70 companion trees will make their way to Washington D.C., where they will grace legislative offices and federal buildings, and be decorated with some of the 12,000+ ornaments and nearly 80 tree skirts collected throughout the state of Montana.

Trees came from Libby, Stillwater, Swan, and Kalispell in Northwest Montana. Most range from 6 to 8 feet tall and represent a variety of species.

On October 31, Montana Department of Natural Resources Forester, Mike Justus, collected trees from each area and delivered to Libby, where Steve Gauger, retired Forest Service and Christmas tree farmer from Eureka, bundled and wrapped the trees for transport to D.C.

    

 

Thank you to the Montana Department of Natural Resources for the support!


 

U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree Viewing Event Nov. 7

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

The public is invited to join us in celebrating the beginning of the journey for the Capitol Christmas Tree- the “People’s Tree.” The celebration will begin at 2:00 PM on November 7, 2017 at the Upper Ford Historic Ranger Station near Yaak, MT.

Festivities beginning at 2:30 PM: 

Yaak School Singers

Speakers, including Kootenai Forest Supervisor, Chris Savage; Senator Jon Tester Representative, Chad Campbell; Lincoln County Commissioner, Jerry Bennett
Tree “cutting” & limbing (Note that the tree will not be felled during this public event due to equipment location and safety requirements.)
Photo opportunities with tree and sawyer
Display viewing, cookies, hot cocoa, ornaments for sale


PARKING IS VERY LIMITED, PLEASE COORDINATE WITH YOUR NEIGHBOR AND EXPECT TO WALK

 

Ornaments and Tree Skirts to Adorn Capitol Christmas Tree and Companion Trees in Washington, D.C.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

 

LIBBY, Mont. October 17, 2017The month ofOctober hardly seems like the time to talk about Christmas ornaments and tree skirts as Halloween is still some weeks away. However, the planning for the Capitol Christmas Tree project began in earnest in January 2017 and will go on until the Capitol tree and companion trees and accessories are delivered to the Capitol grounds.

Initially, it was estimated that 8,000 tree ornaments and 70 tree skirts would be needed by the October 1 deadline. The Kootenai Forest and partners, individuals, and groups surpassed the 8,000 ornaments goal by collecting well over 11,000 ornaments and seventy-three tree skirts to date. Every community in Lincoln and Sanders County had ornament making opportunities throughout the year, with volunteers collectively making thousands of ornaments.

“A big thank you to the ornament committee for coordinating and promoting ornament making activities throughout the year,” said Kootenai Forest Supervisor Christopher Savage. “A job well done.” This undertaking would have not been possible without the support of hundreds of individuals, groups, school children, and partners from around the State of Montana and Tribal input.

The Capitol Christmas tree, also known as the “People’s Tree,” which could reach 65-85 feet tall, will be displayed on the west lawn of the Capitol building. At least three-thousand ornaments about 9-12 inches long, lightweight, colorful, and weatherproof will be needed for this tree. This Tree should not be confused with the National Christmas Tree, a large evergreen tree located near the White House which is decorated as a live Christmas tree.

The seventy companion trees, which could be between 6-25 feet tall, will go to the various government offices in Washington. The other 4-6 inch-long ornaments will be needed for the smaller trees. Tree skirts will also be provided for the companion trees.

The tree ornaments and tree skirts will be organized and boxed and make their way to the Capitol grounds to adorn the Capitol Christmas tree and 70 companion trees in government offices in Washington, D.C.

The ornaments and tree skirts, which were made primarily by Montana residents, is not only an honor and way to celebrate the holiday season but also provides a national showcase for the Kootenai National Forest, Forest Service, and State of Montana.

The Capitol tree will be cut on Wednesday, November 8 and prepped for the more than 3,000 mile expedition, culminating with an official tree lighting in early December as determined by the Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives. The lighting will be broadcast live on national television.