As the nation celebrates the annual lighting of the Capitol Christmas Tree, also known as the “people’s tree,” in Washington, D.C. Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest officials together with Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano are announcing that next year’s Capitol Christmas Tree will be a 70-foot tree harvested from the White Mountains.
The custom of placing the nation’s Christmas tree on the front lawn of the U.S. capitol dates back to 1964.
Traditionally the “tree” comes from a national forest within the United States. Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests employees are already busy looking for the perfect tree that will be selected by the capitol landscape architect in July.
The Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests will be calling on Arizona residents, elected officials and organizations to get involved in preparing the Capitol Christmas Tree for delivery.
“This will be a great honor for all of Arizona, this is Arizona’s gift to our nation’s capital,” said District Ranger Rick Davalos, from Alpine Ranger District, Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests.
Arizona schoolchildren and civic groups and organizations will be asked to make around 5,000 handmade ornaments to decorate the tree.
The tree will be cut in early November 2009 and make its journey to Washington, D.C. The Speaker of the House will light the tree at a special gala event in early December 2009.
In addition, 75 smaller “companion trees” will be provided by the state of Arizona and displayed in the Supreme Court, Department of Agriculture, Department of Interior, the National Arboretum, Arizona Congressional Delegation, and other government offices.
This year’s tree was harvested from Bitterroot National Forest in Montana. After touring it proudly through the state of Montana, the Capitol Christmas Tree was delivered to the nation’s capital and has been decorated by capitol landscape staff and will be lit by the Speaker of the House.
If a business or organization would like to be a partner with this project, please contact Rick Davalos, Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests at (928) 333-6301.