US Capitol Christmas Tree

Find Your Trail on National Trails Day - and Every Day

Saturday, June 02, 2018

 

In 2018, America is celebrating the 50th anniversary of the National Trails System Act. Today, the National Trails System (NTS) includes 11 National Scenic Trails and 19 National Historic Trails authorized by Congress, and more than 1,200 National Recreation Trails (including 21 National Water Trails). Preservation and development of Rail Trails is also fostered in this act. These trails provide outdoor recreation opportunities, promote resource preservation and public access, and encourage the appreciation of the great outdoors and America’s history and cultural diversity.

The task to protect and maintain more than 200,000 miles of trails in the U.S. requires a collaborative effort among trail clubs, organizations, government agencies, and most importantly passionate trail advocates and stewards. An initiative of the American Hiking Society, National Trails Day was first celebrated in 1993 to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the National Trails System Act and has been held annually on the first Saturday in June ever since. National Trails Day encourages Americans of all ages and abilities get out and enjoy, build and maintain trails during one of the thousands of events hosted throughout the country.

With over 1.5 million acres, the beautiful Willamette National Forest is home to 8 wilderness areas – including the popular Three Sisters and Mt. Jefferson Wildernesses – and has over 1,700 miles of trails for hiking, backpacking, mountain biking and horseback riding. The varied landscapes of the high mountains, costal rainforests, narrow canyons and cascading streams offer visitors excellent opportunities to play and explore. That’s why “Find Your Trail” is the perfect theme for the 2018 U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree – we’re paying homage to the 50th anniversary, promoting exploration and enjoyment of trails and National Forests with youth and families, and fostering understanding and stewardship of the importance of our forests.

Whether you’re a part of an official event today or enjoying one of your favorite trails throughout the year, be sure to appreciate the tireless work that goes in to caring for our trails and consider taking the American Hiking Society pledge: Leave the trail better than you found it.

And be sure to share your favorite trail with us on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram (#findyourtrail).

 


 

Ornament Hunt and Sweepstakes Highlight the 2018 U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree from the Willamette National Forest

Thursday, May 24, 2018

 

SWEET HOME, OREGON – The Willamette Valley Visitors Association has launched a Christmas tree ornament hunt in the Willamette National Forest to inspire and increase outdoor recreation activities, connect locals and travelers to public lands, and to win prizes. Two hundred glass ornaments will be hidden along non-wilderness trails on the Willamette National Forest beginning May 24, 2018 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.

The ornament hunt will highlight 1,700 miles of trails on the Willamette National Forest. The theme for the 2018 Capitol Christmas Tree is “Find Your Trail!” in recognition of two 2018 anniversaries: the 50th anniversary of the National Trails Systems Act, and the 175th commemoration of the Oregon Trail. There is a rich history of Oregon’s forests providing for the needs of Oregonians. The Willamette National Forest provides recreational opportunities, fishing, hunting, foraging, firewood, minerals, wood products and, of course, Christmas trees. We hope this exciting ornament hunt will inspire people to explore the Willamette National Forest and all it has to offer.

The Sweet Home Ranger District of the Willamette National Forest is responsible for providing the 2018 U.S. Capitol Christmas tree. The Willamette National Forest in partnership with nonprofit Choose Outdoors and Travel Oregon will bring this special gift from Oregon to Washington D.C. for the 2018 holiday season with support from sponsors, including the Willamette Valley Visitors Association. The tree will be cut on the Sweet Home Ranger District in early November and prepared for the 3,000-mile expedition to Washington D.C. The coast-to-coast journey will trace the Oregon Trail in reverse and include a series of community celebrations throughout Oregon and across the United States. The journey will culminate with the official tree lighting on the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol Building in early December. Seventy smaller companion trees will also be sent to Washington, D.C. to decorate government buildings and public spaces this December. Additionally, Oregonians will contribute 10,000 handmade ornaments, to be created throughout 2018. (Learn more through the "Participate" pages on the website.)

The Willamette Valley Visitors Association website will serve as the hub for contest winners to claim their prizes throughout the contest which will run from Memorial Day weekend to October 2, 2018, the anniversary of the National Trails System Act.

We encourage sharing adventures using the hashtags: #FindYourTrail, #FindYourOrnament, #USCapitolChristmasTree and #ItsAllYours

For more information on Willamette National Forest trails where ornaments have been hidden, https://go.usa.gov/xQyCN

For more information: Capitol Christmas Tree website, capitolchristmastree.com

To get involved: email the U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree email

Ornament Hunt Media Contact: Becca Barnhart, Willamette Valley Visitors Association

 


 

 

 

Trail of the Month: Pyramids Trail

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

 

Are you in search of a challenging hike with beautiful views? Check out the Trail of the Month on the Sweet Home Ranger District, the Pyramids Trail (#3380). The trail is located to the north of Santiam Pass and can be accessed by either a north or south trailhead. Learn more here.

The southern option is the easiest and most commonly used trailhead. On the south end, the trail offers stunning views of a large rock face before switch-backing up the Southern Pyramid eventually leading to a summit on the Middle Pyramid. On a clear day, you can see all the way to Central Oregon! Wildflowers will be abundant beginning in June. 

 

 

 

 

This is a multi-use trail, so you may encounter hikers, mountain bikers or horses. Remember to use proper trail etiquette and share the trail!

 

 





 

 

West Coast Dream Team Will Transport the 2018 U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree

Wednesday, May 09, 2018

Sweet Home, OR., May 9, 2018 – A trifecta of transportation partners will see that the U.S. Capitol Christmas tree safely makes its way from Oregon to the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol for the 2018 holiday season. An annual gift to the nation, this year’s tree will come from the Willamette National Forest with support from nonprofit Choose Outdoors and Travel Oregon. This is the first time the tree has come from the Willamette and the second time from the state.

The tree will be cut on the Sweet Home Ranger District in early November and prepared for the 3,000-mile expedition. The coast-to-coast journey will trace the Oregon Trail in reverse and include a series of community celebrations throughout Oregon and across the U.S. The journey will culminate with the official tree lighting on the West Lawn in early December.

Eugene-based Papé Kenworth is the presenting sponsor of the 2018 U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree program. Founded in 1938, Papé is a fourth-generation, family-owned business with more than 90 locations and 2,700 employee members. Papé serves the capital equipment needs of the trucking, construction, forestry, agriculture, warehousing, and material handling industries throughout the West.

“We are thrilled to help bring the 2018 U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree program to life,” said Susie Papé, Board Chair of The Papé Group Inc. Dave Laird, President of Papé Kenworth added, “We look forward to being a part of this annual year-long celebration and sharing a piece of Oregon heritage with the nation.”

Central Oregon Truck Company (COTC) of Redmond will haul the U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree. For the past five years, drivers have nominated COTC as Best Fleets to Drive For®, for providing the best workplace experience. It also won the competition for the 2018 Best Fleets to Drive For - Best Overall Fleet for Small Carrier and have been named to the Top 20 in the 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017 competitions. COTC was designated one of the 2018 100 Best Companies to Work For in Oregon and 2015 Top Workplaces. CEO Rick Williams and longtime partner Phil Taylor will drive much of the way, with plans to include some tenured drivers for special legs of the trip.

“It is an honor to be selected to carry the 2018 U.S. Capitol Christmas tree and to represent the great state of Oregon during the tree’s journey to Washington D.C.,” said Rick Williams, Chief Executive Officer, Central Oregon Truck Company. “Hauling this precious cargo and the joy it brings to Americans across the country will certainly be one of the most memorable loads of lifetime.”

Kenworth Truck Company is a fifth-year sponsor of the U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree program. A specially-decaled Kenworth truck will transport the 54th U.S. Capitol Christmas tree.

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

Additional transportation partners include SkyBitz, Truckload Carriers Association, Pilot Flying J Travel Centers, Hale Trailer, Eaton and Permit Wizard, in addition to local and national partners including Alaska Airlines, Axis Crane, Eugene Emeralds Baseball Club, Oregon Forest Resources Institute, and the Willamette Valley Visitors Association.

“The annual journey is only possible with the help of strong partnerships throughout Oregon and beyond state lines,” said Bruce Ward, President of Choose Outdoors, non-profit partner of the U.S. Forest Service. “We’re grateful for the time and resources these invaluable partners are providing to help make this the best tour to date.”

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

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Spotlight Trail of the Month: Hackleman Old Growth Grove (Trail #4344)

Monday, April 23, 2018

There is still snow on the ground in the mountains, but it’s never too early to start thinking about summer hikes! The Hackleman Old Growth Trailhead is located 40 miles east of Sweet Home right along Highway 20. It’s a short little jaunt (1/4 mile), but offers spectacular sightings of old growth trees and views of the South Santiam River. A portion of the loop trail is ADA (handicap) accessible and the large parking lot contains a vault toilet. It’s the perfect stop over on the long drive between Central Oregon and the Willamette Valley. 

**Please note: As of April 16th, there is still several feet of snow in this area. The trail should be clear of snow by early summer. Always remember to check conditions before heading out on an adventure in your National Forest. You could also bring your snow shoes!

  

 

Trail of the Month: Hardesty Mountain

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Hardesty Mountain just off Hwy 58 in the Willamette National Forest offers a challenging hike. The 3,323 foot gain over 5 miles makes it a good training hike. There isn't a view from the summit, but there are many trilliums out and you may even see a rough-skinned newt waiting for lunch. Learn more.

  

  

 

 

 

 

 

7 Wonders of Oregon

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Oregon is known for its many natural marvels. Our friends at Travel Oregon have created a list of 7 Wonders to experience throughout the state. Visit TravelOregon.com to learn more and plan your visit.


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.

Winter on the Willamette

Wednesday, March 07, 2018

 

Winter fun can be found from every direction! Santiam Pass and Willamette Pass are the main winter recreation areas for winter sports on the forest. Activities radiate from the sno-parks in each area. You can find cross-county ski trails, snowmobile trails, and places for sledding and snow play.

Four campgrounds are open year-round: Shady Cove Campground on the Detroit Ranger District, Cougar Crossing Campground and Lookout Campground on the McKenzie River Ranger District, and to the south Indigo Springs Campground on Middle Fork Ranger District.

Three rustic cabins are available to rent in the winter months: Warner Mountain Lookout and the Fish Lake Remount Depot Commissary Cabin and Hall House. There are also several winter shelters for use. Some of the shelters permit overnight stays; some are warming shelters only.

Use our winter recreation map to help you find an area or find areas under each of the winter sports activities listed above.

Know Before You Go!
View tips and resources to help you plan and prepare for your trip to ensure the best possible time for you and others who will be sharing the snow with you.

Mushing/Skijoring
Skiing/Snowboarding
Sledding/Tubing
Snowmobiling
XC Skiing/Snowshoeing

 

 

Oregon to Provide the U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree in 2018

Friday, January 19, 2018

Sweet Home, Ore., January 19, 2018 – The Willamette National Forest announced today that Oregon has been selected to provide the 2018 United States Capitol Christmas Tree. 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.

Every year since 1970, the U.S. Forest Service has provided the Capitol Christmas Tree. This year, the Capitol Christmas Tree will be cut from the Sweet Home Ranger District. Seventy smaller companion trees will also be sent to Washington, D.C., to decorate government buildings and public spaces this December. Additionally, Oregonians will contribute 10,000 handmade ornaments, to be created throughout 2018. These ornaments will celebrate the state’s cultural history and people, landscapes, natural resources, and fish and wildlife.

The theme for the 2018 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.

“We are thrilled to be delivering the 2018 U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree, and we invite all Oregonians to be a part of this special experience throughout 2018—from making an ornament to exploring the Willamette National Forest with family and friends—in search of the perfect tree to send to Washington, D.C.,” said Nikki Swanson, Sweet Home District Ranger, Willamette National Forest.

“There is a rich history of Oregon’s forests providing for the needs of Oregonians. The Willamette National Forest provides recreational opportunities, fishing, hunting, mushroom harvesting, firewood, minerals, wood products and, of course, Christmas trees. We hope this yearlong Capitol Christmas Tree event inspires people to explore the National Forests across Oregon, and to ‘Find Your Trail,’” she continued.

The last time Oregon was chosen to provide the Capitol Christmas Tree was in 2002, when a tree was selected from the Umpqua National Forest.

“We are very honored to have been chosen to provide the 2018 U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree, and to share some of our state’s incredible beauty with the rest of America,” said Oregon Governor Kate Brown. “Majestic, towering conifers have long stood as an icon of Oregon’s magnificent forests. This tree will symbolize our rich natural resources, our deep Native American heritage, and the people of Oregon, who are known for their independent spirit, innovation and love for our state’s diverse landscapes.”

The U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree’s Journey to Washington, D.C.

In November 2018, a modern-day wagon train carrying the Christmas tree and ornaments will begin its eastward journey from Sweet Home, following the path of the Oregon Trail in reverse. The wagon train will make stops in a variety of communities across Oregon and the country before arriving in Washington, D.C. The travel route, schedule and special events will be available at www.capitolchristmastree.com.

The Willamette National Forest has partnered with Choose Outdoors and Travel Oregon for the Capitol Christmas Tree project, and a host of partners, sponsors, and volunteers will contribute funding and thousands of hours to help make ornaments and transport the tree from Oregon to Washington, D.C.

Opportunities for Public Participation Throughout 2018

Oregonians and Oregon visitors are invited to participate in U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree activities around the state during 2018, including helping to find the perfect tree to go to Washington, D.C.

  • Find the tree! The public is invited to hike and drive the Willamette National Forest—outside of the City of Sweet Home—to look for the perfect Capitol Christmas 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. Guidelines: The perfect tree is 65 to 85 feet in height with a conical shape that is visually pleasing from all angles. The tree must reside on U.S. Forest Service land in the Sweet Home Ranger District, preferably close to a road that will allow for access for a semi-truck and cranes to harvest the tree. Submission deadline: May 2018. Don’t forget to share your adventures on social media (Facebook and Twitter) with the #USCapitolChristmasTree, #FindYourTrail and #ItsAllYours hashtags.
  • Join an ornament-making event or host your own. Ten thousand handmade ornaments will adorn the Capitol Christmas Tree and the 70 smaller companion trees. There will be ornament-making events throughout Oregon in 2018. The first event will take place on January 20 at the Boys & Girls Club in Sweet Home (1 p.m.; 890 18th Ave.). The Willamette National Forest also invites schools, churches and community groups to contribute ornaments. There will be templates and instructions posted on the website and social media. For a schedule of events and further details, visit www.capitolchristmastree.com.
  • See the Capitol Christmas Tree as it travels along the Oregon Trail in November 2018. The travel route, schedule and special events will be available at www.capitolchristmastree.com.

To get involved: email us here.