US Capitol Christmas Tree

Find your trail, find the tree, and find your way to D.C.!

Friday, June 15, 2018

Summer is here and it's the perfect time to get outside and explore a forest near you. If you live in or plan to visit Oregon anytime soon, there are two exciting additional incentives to hit the trail. 

Two weeks remain to submit a candidate tree to be considered for the Capitol Christmas Tree! The public is invited to hike and drive the Willamette National Forest- to the east of the City of Sweet Home-to look for the perfect 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, 4431 Hwy 20, Sweet Home OR 97386. Download a flyer containing all of this information here!

While you're out looking for the perfect tree, also be sure to look for one of 200 glass ornaments hidden along non-wilderness trails on the Willamette National Forest for lucky adventurers to find. In addition to a keepsake ornament, over 120 lucky winners will be awarded prizes and all entrants will be automatically entered to win the grand prize: a trip for two to Washington D.C. to attend the U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree lighting and festivities. Visit Willamette Valley Visitors Association to learn more

Happy hunting!

 

A Teachable Moment with Oregon Forest Resources Institute

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

 

The U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree offers a unique opportunity for students to discover Oregon’s forests and their importance to the people, culture and communities of the state and beyond. As 2018 marks the 50th anniversary of the National Historic Trails Act and the 175th anniversary of the Oregon Trail, the year- long project also provides opportunities for students and their families to explore trails in our National Forests.

Oregon Forest Resources Institute (OFRI) is a well-established organization that is dedicated to advancing public understanding of forests, forest management and forest products, and encouraging sound forestry through landowner education. In 2016, OFRI brought together a diverse, statewide group of forest resource specialists, educators and academics to develop the 2016 Oregon Forest Literacy Plan - a set of guidelines aimed to help K-12 educators teach about Oregon's forests. The result of this collaboration is a document that gives teachers in a strong foundation for developing curricula and classroom lessons related to forests and natural resources. 

This fall, OFRI, in partnership with the Willamette National Forest and Choose Outdoors, will offer the U.S. CAPITOL CHRISTMAS TREE INSTRUCTION GUIDE. Available in August, this document will contain learning activities and other supports to help 3rd and 4th grade teachers connect the initiative to the classroom. While this guide is being developed in the state of Oregon, teachers across the country will be invited to utilize the curriculum for the classrooms. An announcement will be made in August with details on accessing the guide.

We are grateful to the staff and board of OFRI for their generous support of the 2018 U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree and helping to bring the story of the tree and importance of our forests to life. Meantime, download the educator announcement talking about 2018 opportunities, check out learnforests.org for other education resources on Oregon’s forests, and hit the trail with family to explore a forest near you this summer. 


 

Catch the big one during National Fishing and Boating Week

Wednesday, June 06, 2018

 

Free fishing weekend kicked off National Fishing and Boating Week, a national celebration that highlights the importance of recreational boating and fishing. This year's event takes place June 2-10.

Fishing and boating offer great ways to connect with family and friends, de-stress, and enjoy the great outdoors. Residents and visitors to the state of Oregon are fortunate to be able to experience both freshwater and saltwater, and the Willamette National Forest itself is home to lakes, ponds, streams and rivers, plus access to both motorized and non-motorized boats. This combination offers excellent fishing of steelhead, bass, chinook and kokanee salmon, and many kinds of trout.

Another key benefit of fishing and boating: participation actually helps fund efforts to conserve our natural waterways. A portion of all fishing tackle and license sales, as well as boat supply and registration sales, fund the conservation and preservation of our nation's waterways through a program called the Sport Fish Restoration Program. This means that every time you purchase a fishing license or register a boat, you are helping improve the natural places you love. (Credit: Takemefishing.org)

Get outside, enjoy the water and do good during this national celebration - and all summer long.

Resources:
Oregon Department of Fishing & Wildlife (fishing licenses and regulations)
Oregon State Marine Board (boating regulations and safety)
Take Me Fishing- Oregon

Willamette National Forest:
Lake & Pond Fishing Areas
River & Stream Fishing Areas
Boating – Motorized
Boating – Non-motorized

 

Find Your Trail on National Trails Day - and Every Day

Saturday, June 02, 2018

 

In 2018, America is celebrating the 50th anniversary of the National Trails System Act. Today, the National Trails System (NTS) includes 11 National Scenic Trails and 19 National Historic Trails authorized by Congress, and more than 1,200 National Recreation Trails (including 21 National Water Trails). Preservation and development of Rail Trails is also fostered in this act. These trails provide outdoor recreation opportunities, promote resource preservation and public access, and encourage the appreciation of the great outdoors and America’s history and cultural diversity.

The task to protect and maintain more than 200,000 miles of trails in the U.S. requires a collaborative effort among trail clubs, organizations, government agencies, and most importantly passionate trail advocates and stewards. An initiative of the American Hiking Society, National Trails Day was first celebrated in 1993 to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the National Trails System Act and has been held annually on the first Saturday in June ever since. National Trails Day encourages Americans of all ages and abilities get out and enjoy, build and maintain trails during one of the thousands of events hosted throughout the country.

With over 1.5 million acres, the beautiful Willamette National Forest is home to 8 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, costal rainforests, narrow canyons and cascading streams offer visitors excellent opportunities to play and explore. That’s why “Find Your Trail” is the perfect theme for the 2018 U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree – we’re paying homage to the 50th anniversary, promoting exploration and enjoyment of trails and National Forests with youth and families, and fostering understanding and stewardship of the importance of our forests.

Whether you’re a part of an official event today or enjoying one of your favorite trails throughout the year, be sure to appreciate the tireless work that goes in to caring for our trails and consider taking the American Hiking Society pledge: Leave the trail better than you found it.

And be sure to share your favorite trail with us on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram (#findyourtrail).