Capitol Christmas Tree Progress
Release Date: Apr 24, 2014
2014 US CAPITOL CHRISTMAS TREE PROJECT UNDERWAY ON CHIPPEWA NATIONAL FOREST
Cass Lake, MN (April 21, 2014) -- Chippewa NationalForest Supervisor Darla Lenz announced last December that the Forest will be providing the 2014 US Capitol Christmas Tree. Since then, Forest employees, partners and community members have been building up momentum to get a 65-foot tree to Washington DC that will grace the front lawn of the US Capitol building in December. “ It’s a wonderful opportunity to highlight Minnesota’s vast natural and cultural resources!” noted Lenz.
The US Forest Service has been providing the US Capitol Christmas Tree since 1970. This is the second time the Chippewa National Forest has provided the tree—many people in the community remember the “Tree to DC” project in 1992. This year, the 2014 US Capitol Christmas Tree effort involves selecting a 65-70 foot spruce or balsam fir from National Forest lands. Another 60-70 smaller Christmas trees will also be sent to Washington DC to decorate the inside of the Capitol building. The Forest will work with communities, organizations, and schools to create over 10,000 ornaments for the trees!
Christmas tree ornaments have quickly become the most popular way to get involved in the US Capitol Christmas Tree. Ornament Committee chair Lynn Dee Stangel notes “We have already received commitments from groups around the state to participate, tallying up to 8,000 ornaments promised already!” There are many ways to get involved with this national project. The Forest will be working with county fairs across the state on an ornament contest (different from the 10,000 ornaments). Minnesota artists are invited to compete in an art contest this summer. Event & Tree Committee members are also looking for fiber artists interested in creating 70 tree skirts to accompany smaller trees placed in the US Capitol building.
Currently, Forest employees are keeping an eye out for the perfect tree, and have already nominated three trees. By June, the Forest hopes to have at least 15 nominee trees. Final selection will occur in August. The Tree Committee is working with local partner Wille Transport, who will truck the tree from northern Minnesota to D.C. There is an amazing amount of logistics to work through before the tree is cut in late fall.
The US Capitol Christmas Tree Events Committee is coordinating with local Chambers to get people excited and engaged in the Tree project. “The most memorable part of the 1992 Tree To DC event was the community connections we built,” said Mary Nordeen, Outreach Coordinator for the Tree. “I am looking forward to creating new partnerships and meeting new people in our Forest communities!”
In December, all the partnerships and hard work will culminate with the tree lighting ceremony in Washington DC. From the Chippewa National Forest to the US Capitol, the tree will be decorated in loons, walleyes, beadwork and everything Minnesotan. To learn more about the 2014 US Capitol Christmas Tree, contact Mike Theune at 218-335-8673 or follow the Forest webpage at www.fs.usda.gov/chippewa or on Twitter at twitter.com/ChippewaNF
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