Willamette National Forest to provide 2018 Capitol Christmas Tree

The 2017 Capital Christmas Tree is displayed on the National Mall, outside the U.S. Capitol in Washington D.C.

Sweet Home, Ore. – The Willamette National Forest announced today 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.

The 2018 Capital Christmas Tree logo features green trees, a snow-capped mountain, and a winding trail to represent Willamette National Forest.

The Willamette National Forest, together with Travel Oregon, has designed a logo that captures the beauty of the State of Oregon and the Willamette National Forest, with its snowcapped mountain, fields of green and lush forests. The trail leading to the tree symbolizes the adventurous spirit of Oregonians since early settlers first traversed the Oregon Trail. The logo encourages modern-day adventurers to #FindYourTrail in the Willamette National Forest. For more information: Capitol Christmas Tree website, www.capitolchristmastree.com

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.”

For more information:

Capitol Christmas Tree (official site): www.capitolchristmastree.com
Willamette National Forest:  www.fs.usda.gov/willamette
Photos: https://www.flickr.com/photos/forestservicenw/albums/72157691924441105

Get involved!

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 capitolchristmastree2018@gmail.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 about how to get involved, email us here.

Hitting the trail with the 2018 U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree: Journey to Washington, D.C.

Help us celebrate the 175th anniversary of the Oregon Trail when you visit the Capital Christmas Tree on it’s journey. In November, a modern-day wagon train carrying the Christmas tree and ornaments will begin its eastward journey from Sweet Home, following the Oregon Trail in reverse, stopping 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.

How the Tradition began:

The tradition of the Capitol Christmas Tree, or “The People’s Tree,” began in 1964 when Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives John W. McCormack (D-MA) placed a live Christmas tree on the Capitol lawn. This tree lived three years before succumbing to wind and root damage.

In 1970, the Capitol Architect asked the U.S. Forest Service to provide a Christmas tree. Since then, a different national forest has been chosen each year to provide “The People’s Tree.” This national forest also works with state forests to provide companion trees that are smaller Christmas trees for offices in Washington, D.C.

The Willamette National Forest in Oregon will provide the 2018 U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree.

Capitol Christmas Tree

About the Willamette National Forest:

The Willamette National Forest in Oregon will provide the 2018 U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree.

At nearly 1.7 million acres in size, the Willamette National Forest spans along the western slopes of the Cascade Range in western Oregon. This special landscape features seven major peaks, two Wild and Scenic Rivers, eight wilderness areas, several historic lava flows and hundreds of high-elevation lakes.

The forest boasts an array of conifer species, including large stands of Douglas fir, the official state tree of Oregon. It’s also home to more than 300 species of fish and wildlife, from the northern spotted owl to Roosevelt elk.

Take in the forest’s impressive vistas along two National Scenic Byways. Choose a hike from 1,700 miles of trail, including four National Recreation Trails. Mountain bike on world-famous singletrack. Discover gushing waterfalls. Sleep under the stars at 70 developed campgrounds. Ski and snowshoe at winter recreation areas. The story begins at the Willamette National Forest.

USDA Forest Service and partners pose at the 2018 Capitol Christmas Tree kickoff event Jan. 19, 2018.

The team behind the 2018 Capitol Christmas Tree pose at the Jan. 19, 2018 kickoff event. Photo credit: USDA Forest Service, Willamette National Forest staff

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