US Capitol Christmas Tree News

2021 U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree Virtually Selected

Wednesday, July 21, 2021

 

EUREKA, Calif., July 21, 2021— After a multi-month search covering hundreds of square acres and thousands of feet in elevation, the 2021 U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree from the Six Rivers National Forest has been selected – “Sugar Bear.” Six candidate trees were identified and presented virtually to Architect of the Capitol staff, with each tree receiving unique nicknames connected to the state animal of California, the bear.

Taking top honors, “Sugar Bear,” an 84-foot white fir located within the Mad River Ranger District, will grace the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol this holiday season.

“Selecting a tree to adorn the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol comes with a unique set of challenges in any given year, but especially with this being the second year the search and selection has been conducted virtually,” said Jim Kaufmann, Director of Capitol Grounds and Arboretum at the Architect of the Capitol. “Thanks to drone footage, comprehensive photos, compelling narration, and detailed notes and measurements, we were able to select a majestic white fir that very well represents the Six Rivers National Forest and the great state of California.”

The People’s Tree will be harvested from the Mad River Ranger District, which was most recently impacted by the largest recorded wildfire in California history – the 2020 August Complex Fire. Nearly 160,000 acres, or a little over 50 percent of the total district, was destroyed and burned by fire associated with the August Complex last year.

“Given the recent challenges and hardships our community faced in 2020, we are honored the People’s Tree will be harvested from our district,” said Kristen Lark, district ranger for the Mad River Ranger District. “This tree signifies the fortitude and resilience of this community and we are excited to share in the joy and hope of this project as it makes its journey to Washington, D.C.”

The tree will be harvested in late October before making its journey throughout the state of California and cross-country to Washington, D.C., arriving at the U.S. Capitol in late November.

The Architect of the Capitol’s team will decorate the tree with thousands of handcrafted ornaments from the people of California. The tree will be lit in early December 2021 by the Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives in as a time-honored tradition in its 51-year partnership with the U.S. Forest Service.

Non-profit project partner Choose Outdoors and a host of partners, sponsors, and volunteers are contributing funding and in-kind support of this project and its theme, “Six Rivers, Many Peoples, One Tree.”

“We could not be more grateful for our shared partnerships and engaged community partners and look forward to representing them on a national stage with the representation of this beautiful, local white fir tree,” said Ted O. McArthur, forest supervisor for the Six Rivers National Forest.

About the U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree

The U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree initiative is a 50-year tradition in which one of our 155 national forests provides a tree for the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol for the holiday season. The project is made possible with support from partners including non-profit Choose Outdoors along with cash and in-kind contributions from companies large and small as well as volunteers locally and across America.

Partners supporting the 2021 journey include Kenworth Truck Company, System Transport, ABC Sacramento, Spireon, Inc., Hale Truck and Trailer, Visit California, PG&E, Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, Alaska Airlines, Coast Central Credit Union, Great West Casualty Company, Truckload Carriers Association, Meritor, Inc., Mountain F. Enterprises, Inc., Society of American Foresters, Green Diamond, Mendocino and Humboldt Redwood Company, Sierra Pacific Industries, BT Metals, LexisNexis VitalChek Network, Inc., Bergco, The Forest Foundation, National Press Club, Humboldt Craft Spirits, Humboldt Marketplace, Bass Pro Shops, Chicobag, and more.

We invite you to follow the #USCapitolChristmasTree2021 project through one of our accounts:

  • Facebook: USCapitolChristmasTree
  • Twitter: @USCapitolTree
  • Instagram: @USCapitolChristmasTree
  • #ManyPeoplesOneTree

To learn more about the history of the U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree, please visit https://www.aoc.gov/what-we-do/programs-ceremonies/capitol-christmas-tree

 

System Transport to Haul the 2021 U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree

Thursday, June 17, 2021

Eureka, California, June 17, 2021 – The holiday season will be a little brighter this year with the help of System Transport, 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 2021 tree will make its way to the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol building from the Six Rivers National Forest in California.

System Transport was selected as the hauler for this year’s tree at the recommendation of Kenworth Truck Company and based on industry reputation on the West Coast according to Bruce Ward, president of Choose Outdoors, the non-profit partner that assists the USDA Forest Service with coordinating the annual public engagement initiative. The tree will be harvested in late October before making the in-state and cross-country journey, arriving at the U.S. Capitol in late November. The tree will be decorated with thousands of handmade ornaments made by Californians and will light up the nation’s Capitol throughout the month of December.

The company first opened its doors 1972 with only 1 truck and trailer. An unwavering commitment to customer service and dedication to their team of professional truck drivers has facilitated their growth to over 1,000 employees and operating more than 800 trucks today. System Transport is headquartered in Spokane, Washington, with terminals in Caldwell, Idaho; French Camp, Fresno and Bloomington, California; Phoenix, Arizona; Denver, Colorado; Olathe, Kansas; Ennis, Texas; and Gary, Indiana. They operate all types of flatbed freight primarily throughout the west coast to the Midwest. The company and staff have been recognized with a series of safety, service and environmental awards, including Goodyear Highway Hero, Great West Safety Award, Carrier of the Year from USG, Platinum Carrier from Lowe's, Supplier Excellence Award from General Electric (G.E.), Western Regional Carrier of the Year from Firestone, Carrier of the Year from Home Depot and Excellence Award from SmartWay.

“As a second-generation family-owned and operated company, Christmas is a special time of year for us”, said Dennis Williams, President and CEO, Trans-System. “We are proud to be a part of the annual tradition that brings the Christmas spirit to our nation’s capitol, and to all the families who gather around their own trees to share the spirit of the season.”

Kenworth Truck Company returns for the eighth year as a major sponsor of the U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree program. A specially decaled Kenworth T680 Next Generation equipped with a 76-inch mid-roof sleeper will transport the 51st U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree. Additional partners supporting the 2021 journey include ABC Sacramento, Spireon, Inc., Hale Truck and Trailer, Visit California, PG&E, Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, Alaska Airlines, Coast Central Credit Union, Great West Casualty Company, Truckload Carriers Association, Green Diamond, Mendocino and Humboldt Redwood Company, Sierra Pacific Industries, LexisNexis VitalChek Network, Inc., Bergco, The Forest Foundation, Bass Pro Shops, Gene Lucas Community Center, and Humboldt Craft Spirits.

“Just like our theme ‘Six Rivers, Many Peoples, One Tree’, this campaign brings together many peoples to prepare and safely deliver one special tree to Washington D.C.,” said Ted McArthur, forest supervisor for Six Rivers National Forest. “This journey would not be possible without the support and assistance of strong demonstrated partnerships making this our greatest tour to date.”

For more information on the initiative, how to get involved, and to follow the tree’s journey, visit www.uscapitolchristmastree.com.


 

Introducing the official 2021 logo!

Thursday, May 13, 2021


It is with great pride we formally introduce the official 2021 U.S. Capitol Christmas tree logo. For some, a logo is merely a design with identifying imagery attached to an organization. For the Six Rivers National Forest, we intended to create a logo jam-packed with unique symbology that fully represented our theme of “Six Rivers, Many Peoples, One Tree.”

We believe we did that!

Here are the design elements found in the logo:

  • The predominant colors of red and green of course bring out the holiday season
  • The mountains reflect mountains near the Six Rivers National Forest (to include The Trinity’s, Siskiyou's, and Lassic’s)
  • The six colors of the river, hence the Six Rivers
  • The trees, our plentiful and vibrant forests, and home to Bigfoot!
  • The Salmon - our anadromous fish
  • The rainbow of people represent all peoples, of our region, state, and Nation, holding hands in peace and support.
  • The flower is the endangered Lassic Lupine, which is complemented by Acorns, which are foundational to the peoples of the area
  • There are 113 red and white lights on the tree, representing the Native tribes of California
  • The 16 in red represent the 16 local tribes that call the Six Rivers part of their ancestral land
  • The tree skirt design is used with permission from a local tribal basket cap|
  • The design around the border is the traditional friendship design used by native basket weavers
  • Join us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram by following #ManyPeoplesOneTree.

    Decorations needed for 2021 U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree

    Monday, May 03, 2021

    EUREKA, Calif., May 3, 2021— How do you decorate one 60- to 80-foot-tall Christmas tree plus 130 smaller companion trees? With lots and lots of ornaments and tree skirts!

    As part of the 51-year USDA Forest Service tradition, the Six Rivers National Forest is providing the 2021 U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree, which will grace the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol for the holiday season.

    “The Six Rivers has the great responsibility of identifying and providing the Peoples Tree for the upcoming holiday season,” said Ted McArthur, forest supervisor. “What better way to showcase the uniqueness and beauty of our great state than by decorating it with ornaments and tree skirts handmade by Californians.”

    The West Lawn tree will require nearly 4,000 large ornaments. Separately, the forest and nearby communities will provide an additional 130 smaller companion trees to light up offices of the California congressional delegation, as well as leadership at the U.S. Department of Agriculture, U.S. Department of the Interior, and the USDA Forest Service throughout Washington, D.C., for the 2021 holiday season. These trees require approximately 11,000 smaller ornaments and 130 tree skirts.

    With a newly selected theme of “Six Rivers, Many Peoples, One Tree,” all California residents are invited to help showcase the diverse peoples and ecology of California and its North Coast, as well as their creativity, by making ornaments and tree skirts for the U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree and the smaller companion trees. In addition to capturing California’s diversity, we encourage the use of recycled, recyclable, and natural materials as part of Woodsy Owl’s 50th birthday celebration highlighting its “Give a Hoot – Don’t Pollute” catchphrase.

    Ornament and tree skirt examples are available to view as a reference online here. Following are requirements for ornaments and tree skirts:

    - Ornaments – U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree: 9 to 12 inches, colorful, reflective, and weatherproof to withstand the elements (wind, rain, and snow). 4,000 needed.
    - Ornaments – 130 smaller companion trees: 4 to 6 inches, lightweight and colorful; however, durability is not a concern as they will be indoors. 11,000 needed.
    - Tree skirts: 5 feet in diameter. It may be possible for tree skirts to be returned; however, no guarantees can be made. 130 needed.

    U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree ornaments and tree skirts may not include logos, political, or religious affiliation or symbols, drug or alcohol references, be divisive or offensive. Ornaments cannot be returned.

    Ornaments and tree skirts are due by September 1, 2021, and may be mailed to: U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree, 1330 Bayshore Way, Eureka, CA 95501; or taken to drop-off sites that are available online here.

    For additional information about ornaments or tree skirts for the U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree and how your group or community can get involved, contact Maritza Guzman via email or (707) 672-3184.

     

    Six Rivers selected to provide 2021 US Capitol Christmas Tree

    Thursday, February 25, 2021

     

    EUREKA, Calif. – It might only be February, but it’s never too early to think about that perfect Christmas tree, especially when it’s the one that will adorn the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol! Today, Six Rivers National Forest officials, in partnership with non-profit partner Choose Outdoors, proudly announced that the 2021 U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree would hail from the Six Rivers National Forest, in California. This is the first time the U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree will be provided by the Six Rivers and the fifth time from the state of California.

    Every year since 1970, the USDA Forest Service has provided the U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree. Providing the U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree—also known as “The People’s Tree”—is a great honor and opportunity for the State of California, the Six Rivers National Forest, and the entire North Coast of California to highlight the area’s breathtaking natural resources and cultural diversity, including those whose ancestors have called this area home since time immemorial.

    The 2021 holiday season will kick off with the lighting of the U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree on the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol, in early December. In addition, up to 100 smaller companion trees and tree skirts, along with 14,000 ornaments, handmade by Californians, will be sent to Washington, DC.

    “California is honored to provide this year’s U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree as a living testament to the resiliency and fortitude of our beautiful national forests, despite a historic 2020 fire season,” said California Governor Gavin Newsom. “We are proud to showcase the Six Rivers National Forest on a national stage and look forward to the events leading up to December.”

    “The North Coast has been rightly hailed for the unparalleled natural beauty of its forests, and it’s an honor to once again be able to share a part of our beautiful state with the U.S. Capitol and the people of America during the next holiday season,” said U.S. Representative Jared Huffman (CA-2). “This long-standing tradition serves as a way to unite the country and celebrate all our public lands and natural resources have to offer. Thank you to all of our partners in and outside of California who are making this special journey possible.”

    The Six Rivers National Forest has partnered with Choose Outdoors to help implement the year-long public engagement campaign. The 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.

    “The annual journey is only possible with the help of strong partnerships throughout California and beyond state lines,” said Bruce Ward, president of Choose Outdoors. “We’re looking forward to bringing people together to celebrate our public lands, our diversity and the joy of the holiday season.”

    “It’s going to be a lot of work,” said Kathy Mick, acting forest supervisor for the Six Rivers National Forest, “but we’re excited and can hardly wait to get started in our search for that perfect tree! But, like most of our projects on the Six Rivers, it’s going to be a collaborative effort, working alongside our partners and communities to shine a bright light on what we can do on California’s North Coast!”

    To follow the exciting journey of the 2021 U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree—and to be a part of the festivities over the next 10 months—visit www.uscapitolchristmastree.com , @uscapitolchristmastree on Facebook and Instagram, or the Six Rivers National Forest website at www.fs.usda.gov/srnf or at @SixRiversNF on Facebook and Twitter.

    For information about the history of the U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree, visit the Architect of the Capitol’s website at www.aoc.gov/what-we-do/programs-ceremonies/capitol-christmas-tree.

    To learn more about sponsorship opportunities, contact Bruce Ward, president of Choose Outdoors, at bruce@chooseoutdoors.org.

    For more information about the 2021 U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree and the Six Rivers National Forest, contact Nancy Henderson, U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree Project Manager, at nancy.henderson@usda.gov or (530) 768-7814.

    # # #USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer, and lender.

    America’s Forests with Chuck Leavell Debuts Special Colorado Christmas Episode on Dec. 17

    Thursday, December 10, 2020

    Denver, CO (Dec. 10, 2020) – National TV series for public television America’s Forests with Chuck Leavell returns to Colorado to celebrate a very merry U.S. Capitol Christmas. The new episode will premiere on Rocky Mountain PBS and rmpbs.org on Thursday, Dec. 17 at 8:00 p.m. MT and shines a light on the 50 year tradition in which the USDA Forest Service provides a tree for the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol Building during the holidays. The 2020 tree is provided by the Grand Mesa, Uncompahgre and Gunnison National Forests (GMUG) on the Western Slope of Colorado.

    Chuck Leavell may be best known as the keyboardist and musical director for The Rolling Stones, but he is also an educated and enthusiastic forestry advocate, conservationist and tree farmer. As host of the series, Leavell serves as the on-camera guide, travelling across the country to interview people who are passionate about the gifts we receive from our forests.

    “The U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree is a mechanism for the nation to come together during this magical time of year and to celebrate one of our most treasured resources”, said Leavell. “Whether for building or for recreation, our forests are good for the economy and for the spirit.”

    During this special episode, Leavell travels to the Grand Mesa, Uncompahgre, and Gunnison National Forests to follow the journey – from selection and cutting to ornament making and community celebrations – of the U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree as it makes its way from Colorado to Washington, D.C. Leavell also learns about the multiple uses of this winter wonderland by sharing adventures and hearing from staff from the USDA Forest Service.

    The series is produced by Choose Outdoors and 42 Degrees North Media and the special episode is made possible with generous support from the USDA Forest Service, STIHL Inc. and Red Wing Shoes.

    “The U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree, or “People’s Tree”, is a time honored tradition that brings hope and joy to people across the country”, said Bruce Ward, president of Choose Outdoors. “We are proud to help tell this very special story during a year when the world needs it more than ever.”

    Following the Dec. 17 premiere on Rocky Mountain PBS and rmpbs.org, the episode will be available for viewing online at americasforestswithchuckleavell.com. Follow along on Facebook (@americasforests), Instagram (@americasforestswithchuck) and Twitter (@americasforests)

    *Photos and a :30 promo video available online here. Please credit Markus Van Meter for photography use.

     

    2020 U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree to be lit Dec. 2

    Tuesday, December 01, 2020

    The 2020 U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree will be lit on Wednesday, Dec. 2 at 5:00 p.m. ET. The brief ceremony will take place on the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol and include representatives from the Colorado Delegation, Architect of the Capitol, USDA Forest Service and Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi. The event is not open to the public this year but will be available for viewing online at C-Span.org. 

    The tree will be on display and lit every evening at dusk through January 1, 2021.


    Governor Polis Declares Nov. 30 Experience Your Nature Day

    Monday, November 30, 2020

    Colorado, USDA Forest Service Announces Capitol Christmas Tree Essay Contest Winner

    Monday, November 30, 2020

    Press release - Governor Jared Polis and First Gentleman Marlon Reis, in partnership with the USDA Forest Service and the Colorado Tourism Office, have chosen Alessandra Wilson as the winner of the 2020 Colorado Christmas Tree Essay Contest. Ms. Wilson is a fourth grade student at Peak to Peak Elementary in Lafayette, Colorado and is awarded first-place recognition for her essay, “Quandary is Home”. Second-place is awarded to Adam Cartwright of Boulder, and the Third-place winner is Corrie Malone of Wheat Ridge.

    “These amazing essays showcase the talent of Colorado’s young writers and highlight the special role that our amazing outdoor areas have in our lives,” said Governor Polis.

    “To select the winning essays, we outlined 3 key criteria criteria: mention of how nature has been a way to relax and de-stress during the course of the COVID019 pandemic; mention of specific trips and places in Colorado; and quality of writing,” said First Gentleman Reis. “The Governor and I enjoyed reading these essays and learning how much the outdoors mean to students across our state.”

    The Essay Contest was announced last month and Colorado fourth graders across the state were invited to take part in sending the Capitol Christmas Tree to the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C.. The contest received 98 total submissions from participants in 25 Colorado communities. Students were asked to describe why Colorado’s vast, great outdoors are important to them for a chance to win an exclusive tour of the Colorado State Capitol. Winner Alessandra Wilson will be welcomed to the capitol building sometime next year.

    Ms. Wilson’s essay exemplified this year’s U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree theme, “Experience Your Nature,” which prompted students to share how they’ve spent time outside in Colorado during this challenging year and why the state’s forests are important to them. She writes of her time spent with family in Poudre Canyon, Telluride, and Breckenridge throughout the year, and the feeling of freedom that is brought by breathing freely in nature. Alessandra’s full essay can be found here. Upon hearing the news of her award, Alessandra said "Thank you so much, I wrote this from the heart."

    The 98 competitive submissions demonstrated the importance of nature to young people in all four corners of the state. The top three essays were hand selected by Governor Polis and First Gentleman Reis. To honor the skilled submissions of all of 98 contestants, the 16 finalists, and the three winners, Governor Polis issued an official proclamation making November 30th, 2020 “Experience your Nature Day”.

    The essay contest is operated in conjunction with the USDA Forest Service’s “Every Kid Outdoors” initiative, which invites all U.S. fourth- and fifth-graders and family members fee-free access to more than 2,000 sites on national forests and grasslands for the remainder of the 2020-2021 school year. Each year, a different national forest provides a tree to light up the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol building for the holiday season. This year, the 50th anniversary of the USDA Forest Service’s participation, theGrand Mesa, Uncompahgre and Gunnison (GMUG) National Forests in partnership with nonprofit partner Choose Outdoors and Colorado Tourism recently delivered the 2020 U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree to Washington, D.C. for the 2020 holiday season.

    The tree was harvested from the Uncompahgre National Forest on November 6th and will be lit by Speaker of the House, the Honorable Nancy Pelosi, on Wednesday, December 2 at 5 p.m. ET.

     

    Twas the day of the Tree Cuttting

    Friday, November 06, 2020

    Dana Gardunio is a District Ranger for the Grand Mesa, Uncompahgre, and Gunnison National Forests, Ouray Ranger District. She is a project lead of this year's U.S Capitol Christmas Tree and read this poem as a part of Nov. 5 tree cutting ceremony. Enjoy!

    Twas the day of the cutting, when all through the forest
    Not a creature was stirring, not even a tourist;
    The saws were staged by the tree with care,
    In hopes that the crowd soon would be there;
    Coloradans were nestled all snug in their beds;
    While visions of Christmas trees danced in their heads;
    And Chad in his 'kerchief, and me in my cap,
    Had just settled our brains for our long winter nap,
    When out on the forest there arose such a clatter,
    We sprang from our offices to see what was the matter.
    Away to the Plateau we flew like a flash,
    Hiked over the Divide Road and climbed over the slash.
    The sunlight shining on the new-fallen snow,
    Gave a luster of many a speaker below;
    When what to my wondering eyes did appear,
    But an 80 ft trailer all loaded with gear,
    With a little old logger so lively and merry,
    I knew in a moment he must be Sawyer Perry.
    More rapid than eagles his swampers they came,
    And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name:
    "Now, Dasher! now, Dancer! now Prancer and Vixen!
    On, Comet! on, Cupid! on, Donner and Blitzen!
    To the top of Mt. Sneffels! to the top of the Grand Mesa tall!
    Now dash away! dash away! dash away to Washington, DC all!"
    As dry leaves that before the wild snowstorm fly,
    The sleigh crossed Colorado, a state that’s mile high;
    Across the Rockies the elves they flew
    With the sleigh full of trees, and ornaments too—
    And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the news
    “Experience Your Nature,” any adventure you choose
    As I drew in my head, and was turning around,
    Down the highway Cathy Ritter and Jodi Massey came with a bound.
    They were dressed all in outdoor gear, from their heads to their toes,
    And their clothes were all branded with Capitol Christmas Tree logos;
    A bundle of sponsors they had flung on their backs,
    And they looked like hikers just opening their packs.
    Their eyes—how they twinkled! their dimples, how merry!
    Their cheeks were like roses, their noses like a cherry!
    Now the cranes, their cables were drawn up like a bow,
    To load the tree on the “sleigh” and get ready to go;
    The cradle held the tree tightly in its teeth,
    And the banner, it encircled the tree like a wreath;
    The drivers, oh how they were so bright and jolly,
    Spreading Christmas joy while singing “deck the halls with boughs of holly.”
    Over 4 million miles of road time, they were experienced old elfs,
    And I grinned when I saw them, in spite of myself;
    A wink of their eyes and a twist of the head,
    Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread;
    Their team spoke not a word, but went straight to their work,
    And drove the tree right into DC; then turned with a jerk;
    And laying a finger aside of their nose,
    And giving a nod, up on the West Lawn the tree rose;
    He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,
    And away they all went like the down of a thistle.
    But I heard them exclaim, as they drove out of sight—
    “Happy Holidays to all, and to all a good night!”