Denver, CO (Dec. 10, 2020) – National TV series for public television America’s Forests with Chuck Leavell returns to Colorado to celebrate
a very merry U.S. Capitol Christmas. The new episode will premiere on Rocky Mountain PBS and rmpbs.org on Thursday, Dec. 17 at 8:00 p.m. MT and shines a light on the 50 year tradition in which the USDA Forest Service provides a tree for the West Lawn
of the U.S. Capitol Building during the holidays. The 2020 tree is provided by the Grand Mesa, Uncompahgre and Gunnison National Forests (GMUG) on
the Western Slope of Colorado.
Chuck Leavell may be best known as the keyboardist and musical director for The Rolling Stones, but he is also an educated and enthusiastic forestry advocate, conservationist and tree farmer. As host of the series, Leavell serves as the on-camera guide, travelling across the country to interview people who are passionate about the gifts we receive from our forests.
“The U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree is a mechanism for the nation to come together during this magical time of year and to celebrate one of our most treasured resources”, said Leavell. “Whether for building or for recreation, our forests are good for the economy and for the spirit.”
During this special episode, Leavell travels to the Grand Mesa, Uncompahgre, and Gunnison National Forests to follow the journey – from selection and cutting to ornament making and community celebrations – of the U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree as it makes its way from Colorado to Washington, D.C. Leavell also learns about the multiple uses of this winter wonderland by sharing adventures and hearing from staff from the USDA Forest Service.
The series is produced by Choose Outdoors and 42 Degrees North Media and the special episode is made possible with generous support from the USDA Forest Service, STIHL Inc. and Red Wing Shoes.
“The U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree, or “People’s Tree”, is a time honored tradition that brings hope and joy to people across the country”, said Bruce Ward, president of Choose Outdoors. “We are proud to help tell this very special story during a year when the world needs it more than ever.”
Following the Dec. 17 premiere on Rocky Mountain PBS and rmpbs.org, the episode will be available for viewing online at americasforestswithchuckleavell.com. Follow along on Facebook (@americasforests), Instagram (@americasforestswithchuck) and Twitter (@americasforests)
*Photos and a :30 promo video available online here. Please credit Markus Van Meter for photography use.
Press release - Delta, Colorado, October 28, 2020– After over a year of planning, the time has come to harvest the 2020 U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree — a 55’ tall and 25’ wide Engelman Spruce — from the Grand Mesa, Uncompahgre and Gunnison (GMUG) National Forests.
The virtual cutting ceremony will take place within the GMUG National Forests and will include brief remarks by USDA Forest Service leadership, local elected
officials and project partners. A livestream of the ceremony and cutting will be available on the GMUG National Forests Facebook page.
The cutting ceremony will begin at 10:30 a.m. MT. The tree will be cut using a STIHL MS 500i chainsaw and supported by cranes provided by Valley Cranes. The tree will be placed on a trailer provided by Hale Trailer before being transported off the forest by a Kenworth T680.
Once wrapped and secured, the tree will begin its journey to Washington, D.C., Nov. 10. The tree will visit 10 communities for a series of outdoor festivities hosted by local communities at fair grounds, schools, main streets, visitor centers, convention centers and retailers. Well-wishers will have a chance to take photos, sign banners on the sides of the truck, learn more about the GMUG National Forests and the great state of Colorado and more. Festivities are free and open to the public.
Safety of tour staff, event attendees and the tree are the top priority. Face coverings are required for all events and social distancing will be maintained. Along the way, we ask the public to be aware of the truck’s blind spots, wide turning radius, and longer stopping distances on the road so we can all arrive safely to our destinations.
*Subject to change. Monitor website at www.uscapitolchristmastree.com for the latest updates. Follow along online at and @uscapitolchristmastree on Facebook and Instagram.
Sweet Home, Ore., January 19, 2018 – The Willamette National Forest announced that Oregon has been selected to provide the 2018 United
States Capitol Christmas Tree. A gift from the Willamette National Forest and the State of Oregon to the people of the United States, the tree will
be displayed on the West Lawn of the Capitol Building in Washington, D.C., with a public tree-lighting ceremony in early December 2018.
Every year since 1970, the U.S. Forest Service has provided the Capitol Christmas Tree. This year, the Capitol Christmas Tree will be cut from the Sweet Home Ranger District. Seventy smaller companion trees will also be sent to Washington, D.C., to decorate government buildings and public spaces this December. Additionally, Oregonians will contribute 10,000 handmade ornaments, to be created throughout 2018. These ornaments will celebrate the state’s cultural history and people, landscapes, natural resources, and fish and wildlife.
The theme for the 2018 Capitol Christmas Tree is “Find Your Trail!” in recognition of two 2018 anniversaries: the 50th anniversary of the National Trails System Act, and the 175th commemoration of the Oregon Trail.
“We are thrilled to be delivering the 2018 U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree, and we invite all Oregonians to be a part of this special experience throughout 2018—from making an ornament to exploring the Willamette National Forest with family and friends—in search of the perfect tree to send to Washington, D.C.,” said Nikki Swanson, Sweet Home District Ranger, Willamette National Forest.
“There is a rich history of Oregon’s forests providing for the needs of Oregonians. The Willamette National Forest provides recreational opportunities, fishing, hunting, mushroom harvesting, firewood, minerals, wood products and, of course, Christmas trees. We hope this yearlong Capitol Christmas Tree event inspires people to explore the National Forests across Oregon, and to ‘Find Your Trail,’” she continued.
The last time Oregon was chosen to provide the Capitol Christmas Tree was in 2002, when a tree was selected from the Umpqua National Forest.
“We are very honored to have been chosen to provide the 2018 U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree, and to share some of our state’s incredible beauty with the rest of America,” said Oregon Governor Kate Brown. “Majestic, towering conifers have long stood as an icon of Oregon’s magnificent forests. This tree will symbolize our rich natural resources, our deep Native American heritage, and the people of Oregon, who are known for their independent spirit, innovation and love for our state’s diverse landscapes.”
The U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree’s Journey to Washington, D.C.
In November 2018, a modern-day wagon train carrying the Christmas tree and ornaments will begin its eastward journey from Sweet Home, following the path of the Oregon Trail in reverse. The wagon train will make stops in a variety of communities across Oregon and the country before arriving in Washington, D.C. The travel route, schedule and special events will be available at www.capitolchristmastree.com.
The Willamette National Forest has partnered with Choose Outdoors and Travel Oregon for the Capitol Christmas Tree project, and a host of partners, sponsors, and volunteers will contribute funding and thousands of hours to help make ornaments and transport the tree from Oregon to Washington, D.C.
Opportunities for Public Participation Throughout 2018
Oregonians and Oregon visitors are invited to participate in U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree activities around the state during 2018, including helping to find the perfect tree to go to Washington, D.C.
- Find the tree! The public is invited to hike and drive the Willamette National Forest—outside of the City of Sweet Home—to look for the perfect Capitol Christmas Tree. To submit a potential candidate tree, GPS the location, snap a photo, and send the submission to email@example.com, or drop your information off at the Sweet Home Ranger District Office. Guidelines: The perfect tree is 65 to 85 feet in height with a conical shape that is visually pleasing from all angles. The tree must reside on U.S. Forest Service land in the Sweet Home Ranger District, preferably close to a road that will allow for access for a semi-truck and cranes to harvest the tree. Submission deadline: May 2018. Don’t forget to share your adventures on social media (Facebook and Twitter) with the #USCapitolChristmasTree, #FindYourTrail and #ItsAllYours hashtags.
- Join an ornament-making event or host your own. Ten thousand handmade ornaments will adorn the Capitol Christmas Tree and the 70 smaller companion trees. There will be ornament-making events throughout Oregon in 2018. The first event will take place on January 20 at the Boys & Girls Club in Sweet Home (1 p.m.; 890 18th Ave.). The Willamette National Forest also invites schools, churches and community groups to contribute ornaments. There will be templates and instructions posted on the website and social media. For a schedule of events and further details, visit www.capitolchristmastree.com.
- See the Capitol Christmas Tree as it travels along the Oregon Trail in November 2018. The travel route, schedule and special events will be available at www.capitolchristmastree.com.
For more information: Capitol Christmas Tree website, www.capitolchristmastree.com
To get involved: Capitol Christmas Tree email, firstname.lastname@example.org
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