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U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree to Visit Missoula During 2015 Trek

“People’s Tree” To Make Historic Journey from Alaska to Washington D.C.

 


MISSOULA – As the nation’s Christmas tree makes its way from Alaska to Washington D.C. it will stop in Missoula Nov. 8. Music, cross-cut saw demonstrations and free nature-themed activities are planned from 2 to 4 p.m. outdoors in the Cabela’s parking lot, 3650 Brooks Street. Smokey Bear will be there to greet everyone. The event is organized by the U.S. Forest Service, the National Forest Foundation and Cabela’s.

Visitors are encouraged to sign the banner that accompanies the nation’s Christmas tree on its trek to Washington D.C. 

Christmas tree permits will be on sale for $5 at the event. Each permit allows a person to harvest a fresh pine tree from National Forest System lands for the 2015 season. Over the past decade, Northern Region forests in north Idaho and Montana have issued an annual average of 18,563 Christmas tree permits.

“We are very excited to welcome the tree to Missoula and celebrate its journey with the community,” said Mary Mitsos, National Forest Foundation Interim President.

For more than 50 years, a tree harvested from the U.S. Forest Service lands has graced the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol during the holiday season. This year the Capitol Christmas Tree comes from Alaska’s Chugach National Forest. The 74-foot Lutz Spruce is the first U.S. Capitol Christmas tree to come from Alaska and also the first tree to be transported partially by sea. The forest, in partnership with nonprofit Choose Outdoors, will bring this special gift to Washington D.C. for the 2015 season, with stops at 15 communities along the way. Missoula is one of those communities.

The tree was cut Oct. 27 near Seward, Alaska and prepared for the 4,000-mile expedition by land and sea. With great fanfare, the tree left the Chugach National Forest followed by a caravan of caretakers for the journey to the U.S. Capitol. Fifteen community celebrations are being planned throughout the tour, culminating with the official tree lighting in early December. Smaller companion trees also will be provided by the Pacific Northwest Christmas Tree Association to decorate offices inside of the U.S. Capitol building and other sites throughout Washington D.C., along with 4,000 ornaments designed and created by artists and school children across Alaska.

Associated costs are paid for in part by the U.S. Forest Service, while costs for the tree’s transportation and special events are covered by in-kind services, donations and overall support both locally and nationwide.

Trees are chosen from public lands managed by the Forest Service. The Bitterroot National Forest supplied a subalpine fir for the nation’s tree in 2008. The honor of providing the Capitol Christmas Tree will return to a forest in the Northern Region in 2017.

To track the tree as it makes its way cross-country, visit http://www.capitolchristmastree.com and on Facebook @ USCapitolChristmasTree (#chugach2015 and #capitolchristmastree).

 

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