Local forest to produce Capitol Christmas Tree

Events are being set up to create ornaments for the U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree after U.S. Forest Service officials announced on Jan. 19 that this year’s tree will be produced by the Sweet Home Ranger District.

“We’re thrilled to have been chosen,” said District Ranger Nikki Swanson, who made the announcement. “I think it would be really fun for the community to get behind the event, to help plan the most amazing community celebration ever around the tree.”

The U.S Forest Service has provided the Capitol Christmas tree since 1970, and the last from Oregon came from the Umpqua National Forest in 2002. Last year’s came from Kootenai National Forest in Montana.

The year-long process, Swanson said, will include selecting the 65-foot-plus Douglas or noble fir that will adorn the West Lawn at the U.S. Capitol, and 75 smaller trees that will be sent to decorate public spaces and government buildings in Washington D.C.

Also, Oregonians will need to produce 10,000 hand-made ornaments to adorn the trees that will be placed throughout the capitol complex. The first of a series of events in which local residents will make them was held Saturday, Jan. 20, at the Sweet Home Boys and Girls Club.

The year-long event will culminate in early November with the cutting of the chosen tree and a parade to start a nationwide “wagon train” tour as the tree is trucked across the nation, following the route of the Oregon Trail, with stops at specific locations along the way in Oregon and other states.

A public tree-lighting ceremony will be held in early December on the West Lawn.

For more on how to get involved in finding the tree and participating in events, visit www.capitolchristmastree.com or call the Sweet Home Ranger District at (541) 367-5168.