MISSOULA, MONT., Feb. 13, 2017 - The Kootenai National Forest has been selected to provide the 2017 U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree slated
for the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol in Washington, DC. Preparations begin Saturday, Feb. 18 in conjunction with the District basketball games
in Eureka, Mont. with a community event.
Join Kootenai National Forest Supervisor Chris Savage at the kickoff at the Eureka Middle School gym, 235 7th Street E. Activities begin
at noon and include refreshments, music, ornament making to adorn the Christmas Tree, displays highlighting past journeys of Christmas trees, and
special appearances by Smokey Bear and school mascots. Christmas Tree activities are free and conclude at 4 pm.
“Montanans are proud of our rich outdoor heritage: our public lands, forest and rangelands, and clean air and water that provide recreation and economic
opportunities for thousands of Montanans,” said Governor Bullock. “It is an honor for Montana to provide the tree for our nation’s Capitol while
also showcasing our ability to work with diverse interests to do what’s best for our forest lands.”
The last time a Montana tree was chosen for this honor was 2008. The fir came from the Bitterroot National Forest. “Once again folks from around the
country get to see what a real Christmas tree looks like. I am thrilled that we will be able to share a little bit of Montana's incredible natural
resources with the rest of the nation,” said Senator Jon Tester.
“This is a great honor for Montana to have the Kootenai National Forest selected to supply the 2017 Capitol Christmas Tree,” said Senator Steve Daines.
“This is an amazing opportunity to showcase the majesty of the Kootenai National Forest and Montana’s abundance of natural resources at the base
of the U.S. Capitol for all Americans to enjoy. I’m excited for Montana to join with the rest of the nation in this special way to celebrate the
joy of the Christmas season.”
“It is an honor for Montana to provide the official 2017 Capitol Christmas tree,” said Representative Ryan Zinke. “Montana’s forests are an important
part of our heritage, economy, and legacy. I applaud the selection from the Kootenai National Forest and I look forward to a piece of our state
being shared with Washington D.C., our nation and the rest of the world.”
An imperative step is choosing the best tree specimen to represent Montana. Trees need to be between 60 and 85 feet in height. The candidate needs
to be accessible for the crane and semi-truck that will be used to remove the tree. The tree species should be representative of Montana. If you
have a suggestion, please contact Sandi Mason at the KNF.
The Kootenai National Forest and its lead non-profit partner for the Christmas Tree project, Choose Outdoors, will work together to bring the tree
to Washington D.C. in November 2017. During 2017, there will be special events, ornament making, a tree cutting ceremony and the cross-country
tour prior to the arrival of the tree in the capitol city. The Feb. 18 event kicks off festivities. Contact Choose Outdoors, via Sandi Mason,
to become involved in the project.