The Colville National Forest (in northeast Washington state) and its nonprofit partner, Choose Outdoors, announce the kickoff of the 2013 U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree tour with a cutting ceremony on Friday, Nov. 1, 2013. The tree is on the Newport-Sullivan Ranger District in Pend Oreille County. The “Peoples Tree” will be harvested and is scheduled to arrive in downtown Newport, Wash. that afternoon. The tree will visit 22 cities on its way to Washington, D.C., arriving on November 25th.
Last summer, Ted Bechtol, superintendent of the U.S. Capitol Grounds, selected an 88 foot Engelmann Spruce located on the Newport Ranger District of the Colville National Forest in Washington State. The tree will be delivered to the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. where it will be decorated with lights and more than 5,000 handcrafted ornaments made by Washingtonians. The Capitol Christmas Tree will travel with companion trees designated for offices around the capital.
In December, Speaker of the House John Boehner and one student from Washington State will light the tree and showcase the state’s historical, cultural and natural beauty. Youth ages 5-19 who submitted ornaments will be entered to win the trip to Washington, D.C. to light the at a ceremony in early December. After the lighting ceremony, the Capitol Christmas Tree will be lit nightly from dusk to 11:00 pm throughout the holiday season.
The theme of this year’s Capitol Christmas Tree is “Sharing Washington’s Good Nature.” For more information on the 2013 Capitol Christmas Tree tour, please visit www.capitolchristmastree.com. Follow the 2013 Capitol Christmas Tree on Twitter and Facebook.
The mission of the U.S. Forest Service, part U.S. Department of Agriculture, is to sustain the health, diversity and productivity of the nation’s forests and grasslands to meet the needs of present and future generations. The agency manages 193 million acres of public land, provides assistance to state and private landowners, and maintains the largest forestry research organization in the world. Public lands the Forest Service manages contribute more than $13 billion to the economy each year through visitor spending alone. Those same lands provide 20 percent of the nation’s clean water supply, a value estimated at $7.2 billion per year. The agency has either a direct or indirect role in stewardship of about 80 percent of the 850 million forested acres within the U.S., of which 100 million acres are urban forests where most Americans live.
First Lady Grace Coolidge allowed the first cut Christmas tree (a balsam fir) to be displayed on the South Lawn of the White House in 1923. Fifty years later President Nixon responded to anti-cutting protests and planted a live tree for the ceremony in 1972. Since 1978, a living Colorado blue spruce has been this National Christmas Tree.
The official White House Christmas Tree has been selected each and every year since 1966 from trees grown by members of the National Christmas Tree Association. The holiday tree is prepared and presented for display in the White House Blue Room. The White House Chief Usher, Superintendent of Grounds and other staff select the national winning tree. The tree is then decorated by the White House Floral Department and presented on Thanksgiving weekend. Read more: National Christmas Tree Association
National Christmas Tree – Outside the Capitol:
The National Holiday Tree has been a tradition at the U.S. Capitol since 1963 when a live Douglas fir was planted on the West Front lawn. After several live tree plantings died, the United States Forest Service started providing the Capitol with cut Christmas trees from National Forests. The Capitol Architect’s Office oversees the tree’s display and lighting service.
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