US Capitol Christmas Tree

Trail of the Month: Iron Mountain

Sunday, July 22, 2018

It’s no surprise that Iron Mountain is one of the most well-known hikes on the Sweet Home Ranger District. The area is home to more than 300 species of flowering plants and jaw-dropping geology. There are several different access points to the trail near Highway 20 east of Sweet Home. Hikers can enjoy a range of treks from a 1 mile jaunt up to summit from the Civil Road trailhead, or a longer 9 mile loop that includes Cone Peak. A viewing platform sits on the summit at the site of an old fire lookout. On a clear day, one can see all the way north to Mt Hood and south to the Three Sisters. Peak wildflower season is July, so this is the perfect opportunity to check out Iron Mountain!

       

Trail of the Month: Crescent Mountain

Saturday, June 30, 2018

 

The Crescent Mountain hike is challenging but with great scenic rewards! The main trailhead (south trailhead) is located a short distance from Santiam Pass. The trail winds through lush old growth trees before switch-backing through an expansive meadow. After 4 miles, the trails tops out at the summit with an elevation gain of over 2,000 feet. The hike pays dividends with spectacular views of the Cascade Mountains and wildflowers. Since this is not a wilderness trail, Crescent Mountain is open to multiple uses including mountain bikes and horses. Please remember to be respectful and share the trail!

Learn more on the Willamette National Forest website.

   

 

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).

 


 

Trail of the Month: Pyramids Trail

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

 

Are you in search of a challenging hike with beautiful views? Check out the Trail of the Month on the Sweet Home Ranger District, the Pyramids Trail (#3380). The trail is located to the north of Santiam Pass and can be accessed by either a north or south trailhead. Learn more here.

The southern option is the easiest and most commonly used trailhead. On the south end, the trail offers stunning views of a large rock face before switch-backing up the Southern Pyramid eventually leading to a summit on the Middle Pyramid. On a clear day, you can see all the way to Central Oregon! Wildflowers will be abundant beginning in June. 

 

 

 

 

This is a multi-use trail, so you may encounter hikers, mountain bikers or horses. Remember to use proper trail etiquette and share the trail!

 

 





 

 

Trail of the Month: Hardesty Mountain

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Hardesty Mountain just off Hwy 58 in the Willamette National Forest offers a challenging hike. The 3,323 foot gain over 5 miles makes it a good training hike. There isn't a view from the summit, but there are many trilliums out and you may even see a rough-skinned newt waiting for lunch. Learn more.

  

  

 

 

 

 

 

The People’s Tree

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

 

Around the country, the leaves are changing to hues of gold and orange, the air is getting crisp and cool, and the days are becoming shorter; all indicators that the winter holidays are nearly upon us. Certainly the holidays hold many moments of enchantment, but one of the most fascinating parts about the holidays in my opinion? The U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree tour. While I’ve never been a part of the tour myself, this year I’ve been a part of some of the amazing behind-the-scenes happenings as the team gears up for the month of November.

If you haven’t heard about the Capitol Christmas Tree, let me give you a little insight into this much-loved and anticipated American tradition. It all started in 1964, when speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, John W. McCormack (D-MA), planted a live Christmas tree on the Capitol lawn. The inaugural Capitol Christmas Tree didn’t survive past three season, but the idea and concept around the tree stuck, thus the “People’s Tree” was born. Each holiday season since, the USDA, Forest Service selects and delivers a Spruce, Fir, or Pine tree to represent the country as the U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree in Washington D.C. The chosen tree is not an ordinary tree; it is a handpicked specimen from a national forest, and with the help of thousands of people it is transported to the capitol, making many stops along the way as onlookers stand in awe.


The Capitol Christmas Tree arrives in Washington D.C. roughly a month after its initial departure from the forest. Upon arrival at its place of honor, the tree is decorated with thousands of unique ornaments donated by people from all over the country. From classrooms to nursing homes, the tree is decorated from head-to-toe, with a little piece from every corner of Idaho.

What’s truly special about the tree is the connections it builds between people—between communities. From the very beginning, the tree has a support system, people who come to help remove and transport the tree. People who plan for months to make sure that the tree can be seen by as many people as possible while on it’s tour. As the tree makes its way across the country, local communities come out to support the tree and see the regal tree in all its glory. For many, it’s a tradition that began during their childhood. They waited with their families for the Capitol Christmas Tree to stop in their town, and today they bring their own children. Each year the photos archived are filled with smiles. Young smiles and wrinkly smiles that beam American Pride and anticipation of the season.

This American tradition has not been a tradition for some, but a tradition for many, bringing old and new faces together with the U.S. National Forest Service and Choose Outdoors. Don’t take my word for it though—check out the list of cities that the 2016 People’s Tree, an 80-foot, Englemann Spruce from Payette National Forest will be passing through. With over twenty-five stops in communities along its 4000-mile trek, perhaps one of them will be near enough so that you can be a part of the magic!


 

Written by Olivia Tinney