Next U.S. Capitol Christmas tree to hail from Willamette National Forest; first time Springfield-based forest will have the honor
Oregon - America's top Christmas tree
producing state - will be providing a tree next Christmas for the
Capitol in Washington, D.C.
And the tree will come from the Sweet
Home Ranger District of the Willamette National Forest, the U.S.
Forest Service announced Friday. It's an honor for the national
forest and the state, said Willamette National Forest spokesman
"When the tree is selected and cut
down at the beginning of November, it will make a trip throughout
Oregon," he said.
The National Park Service and the
National Park Foundation team up to provide the National Christmas
Tree, another outdoor Christmas tree that goes on display annually
in D.C. near the White House.
The Capitol Christmas Tree will come
from Oregon for only the second time overall and the first time in
16 years, according to Choose Outdoors, a Colorado-based nonprofit
organization running the program. In 2002, the Umpqua National
Forest supplied the tree, a Douglas fir.
The headquarters of the Willamette
National Forest is in Springfield. Forest officials will enlist the
public's help to find the perfect tree.
It must be about 70 feet tall and
along a forest road so cranes and a truck can reach it to bring it
down and haul it away. "It has to obviously have the shape of a
good Christmas tree," said Bruce Ward, president and founder of
The Capitol Christmas Tree will be cut
in November. Organizers plan to have the tree's route to
Washington, D.C. follow part of the Oregon Trail in reverse. Before
the tree leaves Oregon in November, a "modern-day wagon train" will
haul it around the state for a series of events, according to the
Ward was in Oregon this week, setting
up sponsorship agreements with a trucking outfit and other
companies to help with the tree.
The tree will go on display in
December on the west lawn of the Capitol Building. Another 70
smaller Christmas trees will be cut on the district as well to
decorate Congressional offices and other federal buildings.
The Pacific Northwest Christmas Tree
Association listed Oregon as having the largest Christmas tree
harvest in 2016, followed by North Carolina and Michigan.
The Forest Service has provided a
Capitol Christmas Tree since 1970, with each of the agency's nine
regions taking turns to provide the tree. Region 6 covers Oregon
and Washington. The past two times the region provided a tree, in
2006 and 2013, it came from Washington, according to Choose
Outdoors. Last Christmas, the tree came from the Kootenai National
Forest in Montana.
Sending a tree to D.C. gives
Oregonians a chance to share some of the state's beauty, Oregon
Gov. Kate Brown said in a statement.
"Majestic, towering conifers have long
stood as an icon of Oregon's magnificent forests," she said. "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
Written by Dylan Darling
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Saturday, January 20, 2018