This year’s U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree will be coming from New Mexico. 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.
The 2019 tree will be cut from the Questa Ranger District on the Carson National Forest. Seventy smaller companion trees will also be sent to our nation’s capital to decorate government buildings and public spaces.
Ricardo Martinez, Deputy District Ranger for the Questa Ranger District and project coordinator noted that 2019 will spotlight New Mexico through the U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree. “We will seek opportunities to share stewardship of this project by engaging with the state, tribal and local communities, as well as partners from the private and public sectors”, he said.
Communities throughout New Mexico will be encouraged to share the experience of selecting, caring for, decorating and transporting this gift to the nation. New Mexicans will contribute 10,000 handmade ornaments to be created throughout 2019 capturing the unique culture and beauty of northern New Mexico.
“Throughout the year you’ll have opportunities to make your mark on this gift from New Mexico to the nation - creating and decorating ornaments and discovering inspiring trees in the Carson National Forest,” said Martinez. “Perhaps you’ll even discover THE tree that is selected for the important journey to Washington, D.C. where it will delight visitors from around the world.”
“I am so proud and excited that New Mexico has been chosen as the origin of the 2019 U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree,” Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham said. “New Mexico’s public lands are treasured all across the state, and it is an incredible honor for all New Mexicans to have our beautiful landscapes represented to the nation with a tree from the Carson National Forest. I hope this wonderful event inspires all New Mexicans to continue to celebrate and value our public lands and our proud history of stewardship.”
The Forest has partnered with non-profit Choose Outdoors to help implement the year-long public engagement campaign. The project is made possible thanks to large and small companies and volunteers locally and across America who provide invaluable support of time and resources in bringing the campaign to life from New Mexico to Washington, D.C. To learn more about sponsorship opportunities, please contact Bruce Ward, president of Choose Outdoors.
New Mexicans and visitors are invited to participate in activities throughout 2019. The first event will take place on Feb. 22, 2019, in Taos, at the Taos Youth and Family Center from 12-3 p.m. where you can celebrate with Forest employees, hear more about the project, and help decorate ornaments for the tree.
Every year since 1970, USDA Forest Service has provided the U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree, also known as the People’s Tree. This is the fourth U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree to come from the Southwestern Region of USDA Forest Service. Two were from New Mexico - an Engelmann Spruce from the Santa Fe NF in 2005 and a Blue Spruce from Carson NF in 1991. In 2009 an Engelmann Spruce came from the Apache-Sitgreaves NFs in Arizona.
To get involved, email us here.