SWEET HOME, Ore. – Updated Nov. 6, 2018 – The “People’s Tree” will begin its cross-country journey from Oregon to Washington D.C., this weekend.
The Willamette National Forest, in partnership with nonprofit agency Choose Outdoors and Travel Oregon, have announced the 2018 Capitol Christmas Tree tour, which will celebrate the tree’s journey from the forest’s Sweet Home Ranger District in Oregon to the U.S. Capitol, where it will help the nation celebrate the holiday season.
Each year, a different National Forest is selected to provide a tree to appear on the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol for the Christmas season.
The 2018 tour announcement celebrates the 50th Anniversary of the National Trails Systems Act, with the theme “Find Your Trail,” tour stops, and community celebrations to reflect and celebrate both the National Trails System, and the historical Oregon Trail.
Businesses donated ornaments for hikers to find while exploring local trails on the forest, and volunteers created thousands of handmade ornaments and other decorations to adorn the Capitol Christmas tree and dozens of others to be provided by the forest for display inside the U.S. Capitol Building.
On Friday, Nov. 2, the tree will be cut and prepared for the more than 3,000-mile journey that commemorates the second inspiration for the theme – the 175th anniversary of the Oregon Trail – by following a reverse path of the trail.
A series of festive events will be hosted by local communities at museums, main streets, city halls, state capitols, markets, retailers, high schools, and even a parade. Attendees will have the chance to sign banners on the sides of the truck to wish the tree well, learn more about the Willamette National Forest and the great state of Oregon, purchase U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree merchandise and more.
The tree will arrive at Andrews Air Force Base (Joint Base Andrews), Maryland on Nov. 25, for transportation to the U.S. Capitol lawn for a tree-lighting ceremony hosted by the Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives in early December.
2018 Capitol Christmas Tree tour:
Tour stops may include community celebrations, activities and events. Details are provided where available. All times are approximate and do not account for unforeseen weather and traffic delays, and locations of stops are subject to change. Monitor website at https://capitolchristmastree.com/tour for the latest updates.
- Nov. 9: Sweet Home, Ore. Sweet Home High School, 1641 Long St, Sweet Home, OR 97386 (12 p.m. Street Fair, 6 p.m. Parade and 7:30 p.m. Program)
- Nov. 10: Albany, Ore. Linn County Circuit Court, 300 SW Fourth Avenue, Albany, OR 97321 (11 a.m. – noon)
- Nov. 10: Springfield, Ore. Cabela’s, 2800 Gateway Street, Springfield, OR 97477 (4 – 5:30 p.m.)
- Nov. 11: McKenzie Bridge, Ore. Tokatee Golf Course, 54947 McKenzie Hwy, McKenzie Bridge, OR 97413 (10:30 – 11:30 a.m.)
- Nov. 11: Oakridge, Ore. 48257 E. 1st, Oakridge, OR 97463 (2:30 – 4:30 p.m.)
- Nov. 12: Bend, Ore. 450 SW Powerhouse Dr., Ste 422, Bend, OR 97702 (11 a.m. – 2 p.m.)
- Nov. 12: Detroit, Ore. 160 Detroit Ave, Detroit, OR 97342 (5 – 7 p.m.)
- Nov. 13: Salem, Ore. Oregon State Capitol, 900 Court St NE, Salem, OR 97301 (10 a.m. – 12 p.m.)
- Nov. 13: Oregon City, Ore. (4 p.m., Details TBD).
- Nov. 14: The Dalles, Ore. The Dalles City Hall, 313 Court Street, The Dalles, Oregon 97058 (9 – 10 a.m.)
- Nov. 14: Baker City, Ore. (4 p.m., Details TBD).
- Nov. 16: Pocatello, Idaho. City Hall, 911 North 7th Avenue, Pocatello, ID 83201 (9 – 10 a.m.)
- Nov. 16: Soda Springs, Idaho. Soda Springs City Park; 51 E 2nd S, Soda Springs, ID 83276 (noon – 1 p.m.)
- Nov. 17: Fort Bridger, Wyo. Ft. Bridger State Historic Site, 37001 Isthmus Loop I-80 Fort Bridger, WY 82933 (9 – 10 a.m.)
- Nov. 18: Laramie, Wyo. 975 Snowy Range Road, Laramie, WY 82070 (9 – 10 a.m.)
- Nov. 18: Scottsbluff, Neb. Parade route from 23rd St. to 17th Street on Broadway and ceremony on the 1700 block of Broadway (3 – 4 p.m.)
- Nov. 19: Nebraska City, Neb. Otoe County Courthouse, 110 South 11th, Nebraska City, NE 68410 (6 – 7 p.m.)
- Nov. 20: Perry, Kansas. Perry High School, 404 Lecompton Rd, Perry, KS 66073 (12 – 1 p.m.)
- Nov. 20: Kansas City, Mo. MHC Kenworth, 1524 N. Corrington, Kansas City, MO 64120 (4 – 5 p.m.)
- Nov. 21: Independence, Mo. Independence Uptown Market, 201 W. Truman Rd, Independence, MO 64050 (9 a.m. – 10 a.m.)
- Nov. 22: St. Louis, Mo. 2018 Ameren Thanksgiving Day Parade, 7th Street and Market Street, St. Louis, MO (8 a.m. – 12 p.m.)
- Nov. 23: Harrison, Ohio. The Harrison Pavilion, 101 Harrison Avenue, Harrison, OH 45030 (5 p.m. – 6 p.m.)
- Nov. 25: Joint Base Andrews, Md. Andrews Air Force Base, 1500 Perimeter Rd. Joint Base Andrews, MD (11 a.m. – 4 p.m., event at 2 p.m.)
The official tree lighting will occur Wed., Dec. 5 on the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol Building in Washington, D.C. The tree will be lit by Oregon fourth-grader Brigette Harrington, whose essay about love for Oregon’s outdoors was selected by the Governor and her staff from around 1,200 entries. Read her essay here: http://www.capitolchristmastree.com/The-Peoples-Tree/contest.
This is the first tree selected from the Willamette National Forest and the second tree to come from Oregon.
The trip to Washington, D.C. is made possible thanks to large and small companies and volunteers locally and across America who provide support of time and resources, including Pape Kenworth, KGW8, Kenworth Truck Company, Central Oregon Truck Company, SkyBitz, Oregon Forest Resources Institute, Hale Trailer, VanDoIt, Alaska Airlines, Husqvarna, Meritor, Pilot Flying J, Truckload Carriers Association, Willamette Valley Visitors Association, Axis Crane, Eaton, Great West Casualty Company, the National Forest Foundation and the City of Sweet Home.
For tour information, event details, news and updates, and to track the tree cross-country, visit www.capitolchristmastree.com or www.fs.usda.gov/willamette.
Find Your Trail! The 2018 Capitol Christmas Tree tour theme celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the National Trails Systems Act, one of the inspirations for the 2018 theme of “Find Your Trail.” The trail route celebrates the Oregon Trail, a National Trails Systems Act designated historical trail.
Capitol Tree Oregon Trail route map (PDF)
About the Willamette National Forest, Oregon
With more than 1.5 million acres, the beautiful Willamette National Forest is home to eight wilderness areas – including the popular Three Sisters and Mt. Jefferson Wildernesses—and has over 1,700 miles of trails for hiking, backpacking, mountain biking and horseback riding. The varied landscapes of the high mountains, coastal rainforests, narrow canyons, and cascading streams offer visitors excellent opportunities to play and explore. We encourage people to use the #FindYourTrail hashtag as they explore trails and other areas of their local National Forest.
Sweet Home, Ore., is often referred to as the “Gateway to the Santiam Playground” due to its proximity to the Sweet Home Ranger District on the Willamette National Forest and its trails, lakes, rivers and mountains.
About the U.S. Forest Service
The mission of the U.S. Forest Service is to sustain the health, diversity and productivity of the nation’s forests and grasslands to meet the needs of present and future generations. The agency manages 193 million acres of public land; provides assistance to state and private landowners; and maintains the largest forestry research organization in the world. Public lands the Forest Service manages contribute more than $13 billion to the economy each year through visitor spending alone. Those same lands provide 20 percent of the nation’s clean water supply, a value estimated at $7.2 billion per year. For more information, see www.fs.fed.us.
Source information: Willamette National Forest staff report