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RBC I This holiday season, the U.S. Forest Service and the White River National Forest, with help from their nonprofit partner Choose Outdoors and major sponsors including the Colorado Tourism Office, Mack Trucks and The National Association of Convenience Stores, will present a gift to the nation from the people of Colorado. The 2012 Capitol Christmas Tree continues a hallowed American tradition that originated nearly 50 years ago.
This year’s Capitol Christmas Tree will hail from the Colorado’s White River National Forest, the number one forest for recreation in the U.S. The Forest Service and Choose Outdoors, a coalition promoting outdoor recreation announced the tree’s route across the country from Colorado to the nation’s capital.
“Colorado is synonymous with outdoor recreation, and we are honored to provide a gift to the nation that will inspire people across the country to enjoy the outdoors,” said Al White, director of the Colorado Tourism Office.
In early November, the 2012 U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree will be harvested on the Blanco Ranger District of the White River National Forest near Meeker, Colo. The tree will then be wrapped and transported on a custom-decorated Mack Pinnacle model truck driven by former U.S. Senator, Ben Nighthorse Campbell. The truck will transport the tree more than 3,000 miles during the course of 23 days.
“The Capitol Christmas Tree provides the chance to celebrate the conservation legacy of our national forests, the outdoor recreation opportunities they provide, and the importance of stewardship and restoration of our nation’s forests,” said Scott Fitzwilliams, forest supervisor for the White River National Forest.
The tree and the truck will stop in about 30 cities and towns, journeying through Colorado and across the country with major stops in Albuquerque, N.M.; Dallas; Nashville, Tenn.; Atlanta; Greensborough, N.C.; Allentown, Pa. and on to Washington, D.C. Special events and opportunities to view the tree are being planned in every stop along the way.
“The tree’s journey is an incredible opportunity for people across the country to be a part of an American tradition as it passes through their cities and towns,” said founder of Choose Outdoors and Capitol Christmas Tree National Director, Bruce Ward.
Upon arrival in Washington, D.C., the tree will be placed on the west lawn of the U.S. Capitol and decorated with more than 5,000 ornaments handmade by Colorado children depicting the tree’s theme, “Celebrating the Great Outdoors.” Children who submit ornaments are eligible to enter a drawing to win a trip to the nation’s capital to light the tree with Speaker of the House of Representatives, John Boehner, at a ceremony in early December.
After the lighting ceremony, the Capitol Christmas Tree will be available for public viewing throughout the holiday season. The tree is lit nightly from dusk until 11 p.m.
Costs associated with the tree’s transportation and tour events are made possible by contributions of cash and in-kind services by individuals, corporations and local communities. For more information on the 2012 U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree and to track the tree’s route, visit www.CapitolChristmasTree2012.com. You can also follow the tree on Facebook: www.facebook.com/ CapitolChristmasTree2012, Twitter: www.twitter.com/CapitolTree2012 and Pinterest: https://pinterest.com/capitoltree2012/.
2012 U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree Route Stops:
Saturday, Nov. 3: Meeker, Colo. will host the first celebration before the tree begins its nationwide tour.
Steamboat Springs, Colo.
Glenwood Springs, Colo.
Grand Junction, Colo.
Pagosa Springs, Colo.
Colorado Springs, Colo.
La Junta, Colo.
Kansas City, Mo.
St. Louis, Mo.
Monday, Nov. 26: Tree delivered to the west lawn of the U.S. Capitol.