Colville tree for U.S. Capitol in 2013

Public can submit locations of possible evergreens

November 27, 2012 - Updated: 8:19 a.m.

An evergreen from the Colville National Forest will be chosen as 2013 U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree, and the public’s help is needed in the search for just the right one.

It could be any evergreen species, but subalpine fir, grand fir and Engelmann spruce are considered the likeliest choices.

“Everyone is really excited for this,” said Jennifer Knutson, the Capitol Christmas Tree coordinator for the Colville forest. “It is a gift from the state of Washington to the rest of the United States.”

Only one other time has the Capitol tree come from Washington state. In 2006, a Pacific silver fir was cut from the Olympic National Forest and trucked to Washington, D.C.

Knutson said the public can identify candidate trees and send a photograph and GPS coordinates to have them considered. Candidate trees must be in a spot where harvest with a crane and removal on a long flatbed trailer can be accomplished.

The possible trees can be submitted by email to Knutson at jenniferknutson@fs.fed.us.

Ted Bechtol, superintendent of grounds at the Capitol, will travel to the Colville National Forest by next summer to make the final selection.

Once the tree is cut, it will be trucked around northeast Washington and then the rest of the state before making its way east to the Capitol. The lighting will be in early December.

This year foresters cut an Engelmann spruce near Meeker, Colo., and it arrived on Monday in Washington, according to the official tree website. The tree lighting is next Tuesday.

More than 2,000 residents turned out to send off the tree, Knutson said.

She said she expects similar excitement about the tree in the northeast Washington forest communities of Colville, Chewelah, the Metaline Falls area, and Newport.

Handmade decorations for the tree will come from children and community groups.

Choose Outdoors, a Colorado-based organization, is working with northeast Washington forest communities to find partners and private sponsors to pay for the cost of shipping the tree by truck and trailer.

In addition, Washington state forests will provide up to 75 smaller trees and decorations for government offices in the capital.

“It’s neat to have the spotlight on this corner of the world,” said Kathy Ahlenslager, of the Colville National Forest.

Tree specs

The 2013 U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree must be 60 to 85 feet tall and located in the Colville National Forest near a forest road that can handle heavy equipment. The public is invited to submit candidate trees for next year’s cutting.


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