US Capitol Christmas Tree

U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree Viewing Event Nov. 7

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

The public is invited to join us in celebrating the beginning of the journey for the Capitol Christmas Tree- the “People’s Tree.” The celebration will begin at 2:00 PM on November 7, 2017 at the Upper Ford Historic Ranger Station near Yaak, MT.

Festivities beginning at 2:30 PM: 

Yaak School Singers

Speakers, including Kootenai Forest Supervisor, Chris Savage; Senator Jon Tester Representative, Chad Campbell; Lincoln County Commissioner, Jerry Bennett
Tree “cutting” & limbing (Note that the tree will not be felled during this public event due to equipment location and safety requirements.)
Photo opportunities with tree and sawyer
Display viewing, cookies, hot cocoa, ornaments for sale


PARKING IS VERY LIMITED, PLEASE COORDINATE WITH YOUR NEIGHBOR AND EXPECT TO WALK

 

Location Announced for 2017 U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree

Monday, October 30, 2017

Every year since 1970, a different National Forest has been selected to provide a tree to appear on the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol for the Christmas season. The Kootenai National Forest was selected to provide this special gift from Montana to Washington, D.C. for the 2017 season. This is the second U.S. Capitol Christmas tree to come from the Kootenai National Forest. The Kootenai provided the Capitol Christmas tree in 1989.

In July, Superintendent of the Capitol Grounds Ted Bechtol and his staff visited the forest and inspected a half a dozen or so candidate trees. After careful consideration, he made his selection. It is a 79 ft. tall Engelmann Spruce that is located at the Upper Ford administrative site on the Three Rivers Ranger District in Troy, Montana.

With the selection and location of the tree known, Forest Service Law Enforcement Officer’s will provide 24-hour security of the tree until it is harvested.

There are a few activities and events being planned for the 2017 Capitol Christmas tree celebration. Tuesday, November 7 will be open for the public to come view the tree and take pictures. Refreshments will be provided. Wednesday, November 8 will be a closed event where the tree will be cut, as space and safety concerns are paramount. Drone footage of the tree cutting will be uploaded to Facebook and provided to the media.

The tree will be escorted from the Yaak through the cities of Troy and Libby so the people can see the tree which will adorn the U.S. Capitol grounds this holiday season. The tree will then be stored in Libby and prepped for the almost 3,000-mile trip, which includes a series of community celebrations and culminates with the official tree lighting in early December.

“This is an honor for the Kootenai Forest to provide the Christmas tree for the Nation,” said Kootenai National Forest Supervisor Christopher Savage. “We’ll look to provide employees and partners to engage in activities and events for the Capitol Christmas tree preparation.”

The Forest Service has partnered with nonprofit Choose Outdoors on the Capitol Christmas tree project.

For tour information, event details, news and updates, and to track the tree cross-country, visit facbook.com/kootenainf or www.capitolchristmastree.com.

 

Longtime Montana Trucker to Deliver Capitol Christmas Tree

Monday, October 30, 2017

 

From Daily Inter Lake, Oct. 30, 2017.

In nearly five decades of driving trucks, Larry Spiekermeier has placed sixth in the National Truck Driving Championships, twice been named Motor Carriers of Montana’s “Driver of the Year,” and logged 1.6 million accident-free miles with his current employer, Whitewood Transport.

But with all that experience, Spiekermeier said he’s never had a job quite like the one he’ll take next month.

The 70-year-old Plains resident has been tasked with driving this year’s Capitol Christmas Tree from the Kootenai National Forest to the U.S. Capitol’s West Front Lawn.

“I’ve moved some really big loads,” he told the Daily Inter Lake, but never one so prominent.

Public lands around the country have sent a Christmas tree to the Capitol every year since 1970. This fall, a Kootenai tree was chosen for the first time since 1989. Choose Outdoors, the nonprofit assisting the U.S. Forest Service with the effort, entrusted Spiekermeier’s employer, Whitewood Transport, with the 3,460-mile journey.

In a press release, Whitewood said that “his knowledge of equipment, loading and transport, and his experience with specialty oversize and overweight commodities set Spiekermeier apart in the trucking industry.”

That experience likely will prove useful in driving a 79-foot-tall Engelmann spruce — and the water tank keeping it fresh — to the nation’s capital.

Spiekermeier said he ordinarily drives a 75-foot rig, but “because of the length of the trailer that’s hauling the tree ... I’ll be somewhere between 90 and 100 feet long.”

In place of his usual Western Star, he’ll be driving a Kenworth T680 Advantage, which the truck manufacturer has provided and decorated for the occasion. Spiekermeier’s wife, Mary Ann, will join him for the first 900 miles, A second Whitewood truck carrying 70 smaller trees for the Capitol’s interior and nine pallets of “Made in Montana” ornaments will follow, driven by Grant Coleman.

After the Nov. 8 tree-cutting ceremony, the convoy will make celebratory stops at Eureka and Whitefish on Nov. 13, Libby, Troy, and Trout Creek on Nov. 14, and Thompson Falls and Missoula on Nov. 15.

The Don K Whitefish car dealership, 6219 U.S. 93 S., will host the Whitefish stop, with the tree arriving at 2:30 p.m. Nov. 13.

The tree will continue to Central and Eastern Montana, North Dakota, Minnesota, Missouri, Kentucky and Maryland before arriving at the Capitol on Nov. 27.

For a complete event list, visit www.capitolchristmastree.com

Even as he eyes retirement, Spiekermeier said he’s looking forward to “just seeing the kids’ eyes” when he rolls up with the tree, and “giving them exposure to something that’s going to end up on the front lawn of the Capitol.”

Reporter Patrick Reilly can be reached at preilly@dailyinterlake.com, or at 758-4407.

 

Kenworth T680 Advantage Features Special Exterior Design for 53rd Annual U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree Tour

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

 

KIRKLAND, Wash., October 11, 2017 - A Kenworth T680 Advantage will transport the 53rd U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree from the Nov. 8 tree-cutting in the Kootenai National Forest in Montana to 15 community celebrations during the more than 2,000-mile journey en route to the tree-lighting ceremony in Washington, D.C., in early December.

The Kenworth T680 Advantage’s distinctive exterior design features the 2017 U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree – Kootenai National Forest seal, a brightly lit and colorfully adorned Christmas Tree, and the U.S. Capitol beneath a starry sky with the words “Big Sky. Big Tree. Big Journey.”

 

The T680 also includes the logo of Billings, Montana-based Whitewood Transport. The company was selected as the hauler for this year’s tree due to its excellent reputation in Montana’s trucking industry, according to Bruce Ward, president of Choose Outdoors, a non-profit organization that assists the U.S. Forest Service with coordinating the annual tour. Whitewood Transport is a recent multiple-year recipient of the Motor Carrier of the Year, including the 2016 award, from the Motor Carriers of Montana.

 

“It is an honor to be selected to carry the 2017 U.S. Capitol Christmas tree and to represent the great state of Montana during the tree’s journey to Washington, D.C.,” said Mike Wilson, owner of Whitewood Transport. “You can count on Whitewood Transport to deliver this special gift to the nation safely with the support of our friends at Kenworth.”

 

Whitewood Transport’s Larry Spiekermeier, who has 1.6-million accident free miles, was selected to drive the special Kenworth T680 Advantage, which will haul a trailer specially designed for the U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree Tour. The tour will make 10 stops in Montana before continuing with stops in North Dakota, South Dakota, Missouri and Kentucky.

 

“The annual lighting of the U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree is a true American tradition. It’s an honor for Kenworth to help deliver the ‘The People’s Tree’ for the fourth consecutive year,” said Kurt Swihart, Kenworth marketing director. “The T680 Advantage features the PACCAR Powertrain, provides a very comfortable work environment for this year’s tour driver, and sports eye-catching graphics that thousands of people will see on the road and at the tour stops.”

 

The fully loaded Kenworth T680 Advantage features the PACCAR Powertrain with the PACCAR MX-13 engine rated at 455-hp and 1,650 lb-ft of torque, new PACCAR 12-speed automated transmission, and PACCAR 40,000-pound tandem rear axle. The T680’s specifications include Kenworth’s TruckTech+ remote diagnostics, predictive cruise control, idle management system, driver performance center, and premium GT703 seats in addition to high-intensity discharge (HID) headlamps, Bendix® Wingman® Fusion™ driver assistance system, and tire-pressure monitoring system.

 

The 76-inch sleeper is specified with the premium “Driver’s Studio” option package, which includes the Diamond VIT interior, 180-degree swivel passenger seat and rotating table to accommodate two people, drawer-style refrigerator, convenient space ideal for a microwave, premium audio package, and swivel TV mount for up to a 28-inch flat screen TV. The Driver’s Studio also offers a full-size wardrobe space for hanging clothes, multiple storage drawers, large storage space under the lower bunk, and 8-inch thick, luxury pocket coil mattress.
For more information, including a complete tour schedule, visit the 2017 U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree website (www.capitolchristmastree.com).

 

Kenworth is The Driver’s Truck™. See what drivers are saying at www.kenworth.com/drivers.
Kenworth Truck Company is the manufacturer of The World’s Best® heavy and medium duty trucks. Kenworth’s Internet home page is at www.kenworth.com. Kenworth is a PACCAR company.

 

Ornaments and Tree Skirts to Adorn Capitol Christmas Tree and Companion Trees in Washington, D.C.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

 

LIBBY, Mont. October 17, 2017The month ofOctober hardly seems like the time to talk about Christmas ornaments and tree skirts as Halloween is still some weeks away. However, the planning for the Capitol Christmas Tree project began in earnest in January 2017 and will go on until the Capitol tree and companion trees and accessories are delivered to the Capitol grounds.

Initially, it was estimated that 8,000 tree ornaments and 70 tree skirts would be needed by the October 1 deadline. The Kootenai Forest and partners, individuals, and groups surpassed the 8,000 ornaments goal by collecting well over 11,000 ornaments and seventy-three tree skirts to date. Every community in Lincoln and Sanders County had ornament making opportunities throughout the year, with volunteers collectively making thousands of ornaments.

“A big thank you to the ornament committee for coordinating and promoting ornament making activities throughout the year,” said Kootenai Forest Supervisor Christopher Savage. “A job well done.” This undertaking would have not been possible without the support of hundreds of individuals, groups, school children, and partners from around the State of Montana and Tribal input.

The Capitol Christmas tree, also known as the “People’s Tree,” which could reach 65-85 feet tall, will be displayed on the west lawn of the Capitol building. At least three-thousand ornaments about 9-12 inches long, lightweight, colorful, and weatherproof will be needed for this tree. This Tree should not be confused with the National Christmas Tree, a large evergreen tree located near the White House which is decorated as a live Christmas tree.

The seventy companion trees, which could be between 6-25 feet tall, will go to the various government offices in Washington. The other 4-6 inch-long ornaments will be needed for the smaller trees. Tree skirts will also be provided for the companion trees.

The tree ornaments and tree skirts will be organized and boxed and make their way to the Capitol grounds to adorn the Capitol Christmas tree and 70 companion trees in government offices in Washington, D.C.

The ornaments and tree skirts, which were made primarily by Montana residents, is not only an honor and way to celebrate the holiday season but also provides a national showcase for the Kootenai National Forest, Forest Service, and State of Montana.

The Capitol tree will be cut on Wednesday, November 8 and prepped for the more than 3,000 mile expedition, culminating with an official tree lighting in early December as determined by the Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives. The lighting will be broadcast live on national television.

 

Front Porch Grill House Dishes Up A Piece of Montana in Nation's Capitol This Christmas

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

 

The infamous Bubba Burger enjoyed regularly by lucky local residents and tourists to the Eureka area will make its way to Washington D.C. for the holidays. Chef James and Andi Monroe, owners of The Front Porch Grill House restaurant, will travel to Washington D.C. to represent the state of Montana as part of the celebrations surrounding the lighting of the U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree. The 2017 people’s tree is provided by the Kootenai National Forest in Montana.

The Eureka Bubba Burger is a hand-pressed patty topped with spicy Cajun sausage, jumbo shrimp, chipotle sauce and cheddar cheese, and became widely known when it was voted the best burger in the “Ultimate Hometown Grill Off” sponsored by the television show “Live! with Regis and Kelly.” It will be served to attendees of the Congressional Reception hosted by U.S. Senator John Tester, which follows the tree lighting on the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol. The Montana Huckleberry Burger also will make its debut during the reception, which features huckleberry ice cream, cheddar cheese, jalapenos, jam and bacon.

“In addition to representing the forest, the U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree represents the people, culture and communities of the state that it comes from”, Sandi Mason, Kootenai National Forest. “We are grateful to the Monroe’s for sharing their time and talent to bring a hometown Montana story to life in Washington D.C.”

The Monroe’s repertoire goes beyond burgers. Chef Monroe graduated from Johnson & Wales University, worked abroad and earned chef de partie at Trianon palace (Versailles, France), appeared on Live! with Regis and Kelly in New York city twice; and has recipes published in multiple outlets. Chef Monroe also is descendant card-carrier Blackfoot Indian whose great- grandparents have two mountains named after them in Glacier National Park. 

Locally, the primary goal of the Front Porch Grill House is to offer livable wages to employees in a remote community. In addition to providing economic opportunities, the Monroe’s are actively involved in giving back to the community. Residents often go home with a signature chocolate cake or carrot cake donated to numerous benefit auctions or are invited to the restaurant for free community events during holidays such as Halloween or Christmas.

Andi Monroe also serves as the Vice President of the Eureka Area Chamber of Commerce.

“It is a privilege to be a part of this great American tradition and to bring attention to the hidden gem of Eureka that we know and love”, said Andi Monroe.

Submit a pic to win the National Forest Photo Contest

Tuesday, October 03, 2017

 

In 2017, the tree that will adorn the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol in Washington D.C. will come from Montana’s Kootenai National Forest. Rocky Mountain School of Photography is proud to join forces with Choose Outdoors, the leading non-profit partner of the U.S. Forest Service, who provides assistance with the U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree initiative.

To celebrate Montana’s involvement this holiday season, the importance of all of America’s forests, and our love of the great outdoors, we are hosting a photo contest for all of the other U.S. National Forest lovers out there.

If you're one of them, submit your images with the button below! It's free to enter. The contest closes October 25, 1017. The top ten images will then be posted on Facebook, where the public will vote on the final winner by November 22nd!

AND one super lucky Grand Prize winner will receive a round-trip ticket voucher for use anywhere Alaska Airlines flies!

View contest rules