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.