US Capitol Christmas Tree

2018 Capitol Christmas Tree Dates Announced

Friday, November 02, 2018

The Architect of the Capitol (AOC) selects the annual U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree in consultation with the United States Forest Service.

This year's tree, sponsored by the Oregon Congressional Delegation led by U.S. Senator Ron Wyden, was chosen from the Willamette National Forest. The tree will be harvested on November 2, 2018, and will travel cross-country to Washington, D.C. by truck.

The Capitol Christmas Tree will make stops in communities along the route to the nation's capital and arrive at the U.S. Capitol on Monday, November 26, 2018, at 10 a.m. The AOC's Capitol Grounds and Arboretum team will secure the tree and decorate it with thousands of handcrafted ornaments from the people of Oregon.

The tree will be lit by the Speaker of the House, Paul D. Ryan, on Wednesday, December 5, 2018, during a ceremony on the West Front Lawn beginning at 5 p.m.

The annual lighting of the U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree is a time-honored tradition of more than 50 years. The tree will be lit from nightfall until 11 p.m. each evening through January 1, 2019.

Learn more about the tree selection process on AOC's blog.

From the Architect of the Capitol


Timber! Willamette National Forest to Host Public Tree Cutting Celebration for the 2018 U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree

Monday, October 22, 2018

The 2018 United States Capitol Christmas Tree will be harvested from the Willamette National Forest on November 2, 2018. The Sweet Home Ranger District is hosting two public events so Oregonians can both see and celebrate this important moment in the yearlong U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree campaign.

Come join us to celebrate the cutting of the tree! Starting today, 50 lucky people who register here will be able to attend the tree cutting event. The number of public attendees is limited by the size of the area surrounding the tree, plus the need to accommodate tree-lifting cranes and a large truck. The event will include brief remarks by the Forest Service employees, local officials, and partners. Attendees will meet at River Bend County Park in Foster, Ore., at 9:00 a.m. and will be shuttled to the site, which is approximately one hour away on rural forest roads. The tree cutting will take place between 11:15 a.m. and noon. The tree will be cut with a saw donated by Husqvarna, and the tree-lifting crane and supporting equipment provided by The Papé Group and Axis Crane. Attendees will be shuttled back and should return to River Bend County Park by 1:30 p.m. While there will be tents and bathroom facilities, attendees will be outside the entire time and should be prepared for inclement weather, including rain or snow. For full event details, participant requirements and online registration, visit https://capitolchristmastree2018.eventbrite.com.

A second celebratory event will be held at River Bend County Park mid-afternoon, beginning at 1:30 p.m. A video of the tree cutting will be broadcast on a giant screen and light refreshments will be provided. This event is open to the public and registration is not required. There is no limit to the number of people who may attend. In attendance will be the “tree team” comprised of Forest Service officials, partners, and sponsors.

 

“We are thrilled to be able to share this exciting part of the U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree’ s journey with our fellow Oregonians. The people of Oregon have been instrumental to the success of this project. From the kindness of our cooperators to everyone who helped make ornaments and tree skirts, Oregonians have come together to send this beautiful Noble Fir and over 10,000 ornaments as a gift from the state of Oregon to the U.S. Capitol and all Americans,” said Nikki Swanson, U.S. Forest Service Sweet Home District Ranger.

After the tree is cut, it will come to Sweet Home where it will be prepared for the long journey east on a Kenworth W990 truck hauled by Central Oregon Truck Company with support from The Papé Group. The next step in the tree’s journey will begin on Friday, November 9, when it departs from Sweet Home, Ore. and begins its 3,000-mile road trip through Oregon and across the country to Washington, D.C. The theme for the 2018 U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree is “Find Your Trail!” in recognition of two 2018 anniversaries: the 50th anniversary of the National Trails System Act and the 175th commemoration of the Oregon Trail.

Accordingly, the tree will depart Oregon following the reverse path along the Oregon Trail with stops in Albany, Springfield, McKenzie Bridge, Oakridge, Bend, Detroit, Salem, Oregon City, The Dalles, and Baker City. A series of festive events will be hosted by communities along the way and attendees can sign banners on the sides of the truck, learn more about the Forest Service, purchase U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree merchandise and more. A complete schedule and list of special events is available at www.capitolchristmastree.com.

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 The Papé Group, KGW8, Kenworth Truck Company, Central Oregon Truck Company, SkyBitz, Oregon Forest Resources Institute, Hale Trailer, VanDoIt Adventure Vans, 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.

The U.S. Forest Service has provided the Capitol Christmas Tree every year since 1970. In January 2018, the U.S. Forest Service announced that the 2018 Capitol Christmas Tree would come from Oregon’s Willamette National Forest. The 80-foot noble fir tree was selected by a representative of the Architect of the Capitol in August. This will be the first time in the program’s 47-year history that a noble fir has been a U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree.

The tree will be displayed on the West Lawn of the Capitol Building in Washington, D.C., with a public tree- lighting ceremony in early December 2018. The last time Oregon was chosen to provide the U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree was in 2002, when a tree was selected from the Umpqua National Forest.

 

Seventy smaller companion trees will also be sent to Washington, D.C. from the Willamette National Forest to decorate government buildings and public spaces this December. Additionally, Oregonians will contribute 10,000 handmade ornaments.

Hillsboro Fourth Grader is Chosen to Light U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree

Monday, October 15, 2018

 

Sweet Home, Ore., October 15, 2018 – This December, Brigette Harrington, a fourth grader at Jackson Elementary School in Hillsboro, Ore., will be flying to Washington, D.C., to join the U.S. Speaker of the House in lighting the 2018 U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree during the official ceremony.

Each year, a different national forest is chosen to provide “The People’s Tree” for the holiday season, and this year, Oregon’s Willamette National Forest was selected for the honor. A gift to the people of the United States, it will be displayed on the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol Building in Washington, D.C., in December 2018. The tree-lighting ceremony date is still to be determined by the U.S. House of Representatives.

In celebration of Oregon providing the 2018 U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree, Gov. Kate Brown invited all Oregon fourth graders to write an essay on what they love about Oregon’s outdoors – a topic that matched the 2018 U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree theme, “Find Your Trail!” More than 1,200 students participated in the essay contest, and the governor selected Brigette’s essay which uses the form of “The Night Before Christmas” to poetically describe Oregon’s four seasons. (Read the submittal here.)

"It was exciting to have so many young Oregonians submit essays about our beautiful state. Oregon has a strong tradition of exploring our outdoor spaces and I'm excited to see this continue in the next generation of Oregon explorers," said Governor Brown. "I particularly loved Brigette's reflections on Oregon's four seasons, and I am thrilled that she will be representing all Oregonians at the U.S. Capitol."

Brigette and one adult guardian will receive an all-expenses-paid trip to Washington, D.C., to take part in the tree-lighting ceremony alongside members of the U.S. House of Representatives, the U.S. Senate and the public. She will also be invited to attend festivities around the tree lighting that take place throughout the Capitol.

“I’m feeling pretty amazed and excited. It’s such an honor, and I’m excited to light the tree!” said Brigette.

All Oregon fourth graders are eligible to receive a free annual pass to hundreds of parks, lands and waters across the United States for an entire year through the Every Kid in a Park program. They are also eligible for a free permit to cut their own Christmas tree from an Oregon National Forest.

On the Road to Washington, D.C.
This November, Oregonians of all ages can virtually follow the U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree as it travels along the Oregon Trail, plus see the tree in person at fun community events in Sweet Home, Albany, Springfield, McKenzie Bridge, Oakridge, Bend, Detroit, Salem, Oregon City, The Dalles and Baker City. Information about the tree, travel route, schedule and special events is available at www.capitolchristmastree.com.

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Announcing the 2018 U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree Tour

Tuesday, October 02, 2018

Sweet Home, Ore. – October 2, 2018 – Every 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. This year, the Willamette National Forest, in partnership with nonprofit agency Choose Outdoors and Travel Oregon, will bring this special gift from Oregon to Washington, D.C. for the 2018 holiday, by way of cross-country tour involving more than 25 communities along the way. The 2018 tour announcement is appropriately timed to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the National Trails Systems Act, one of the inspirations for the 2018 theme of “Find Your Trail”. 

On Friday, Nov. 2, the tree will be cut and prepared for the more than 3,000-mile journey that commemorates the second inspiration – 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.

Host communities include:

  • Friday, Nov. 9: Sweet Home High School, 1641 Long St, Sweet Home, OR 97386 (12:00 p.m. Street Fair, 6:00 p.m. Parade and 7:30 p.m. Program)
  • Saturday, Nov. 10: Linn County Circuit Court, 300 SW Fourth Avenue, Albany, OR 97321 (9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.)
  • Saturday, Nov. 10: Cabela’s, 2800 Gateway Street, Springfield, OR 97477 (4:00 – 5:30 p.m.)
  • Sunday, Nov. 11: McKenzie River Ranger Station, 57600 McKenzie Highway 126, McKenzie Bridge, OR 97413 (10:30 – 11:30 a.m.)
  • Sunday, Nov. 11: 48257 E. 1st , Oakridge, OR 97463 (2:30 – 4:30 p.m.)
  • Monday, Nov. 12: 450 SW Powerhouse Dr., Ste 422, Bend, OR 97702 (11:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.)
  • Monday, Nov. 12: 160 Detroit Ave, Detroit, OR 97342 (5:00 – 7:00 p.m.)
  • Tuesday, Nov. 13: Oregon State Capitol, 900 Court St NE, Salem, OR 97301(10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.)
  • Tuesday, Nov. 13: Oregon City, OR
  • Wednesday, Nov. 14: The Dalles City Hall, 313 Court Street, The Dalles, Oregon 97058 (9:00 – 10:00 a.m.)
  • Wednesday, Nov. 14: Baker City, OR
  • Friday, Nov. 16: City Hall, 911 North 7th Avenue, Pocatello, ID 83201 (9:00 – 10:00 a.m.)
  • Saturday, Nov. 17: Ft. Bridger State Historic Site, 37001 Isthmus Loop I-80 Fort Bridger, WY 82933 (9:00 – 10:00 a.m.)
  • Sunday, Nov. 18: 975 Snowy Range Road, Laramie, WY 82070 (9:00 – 10:00 a.m.)
  • Sunday, Nov. 18: Scottsbluff, NE including parade route from 23rd St. to 17th Street on Broadway and ceremony on the 1700 block of Broadway (6:00-7:00 p.m.)
  • Monday, Nov. 19: Otoe County Courthouse, 110 South 11th, Nebraska City, NE 68410 (6:00 – 7:00 p.m.)
  • Tuesday, Nov. 20: Perry High School, 404 Lecompton Rd, Perry, KS 66073 (12:00 – 1:00 p.m.)
  • Tuesday, Nov. 20: MHC Kenworth, 1524 N. Corrington, Kansas City, MO 64120 (4:00 – 5:00 p.m.)
  • Wednesday, Nov. 21: Independence Uptown Market, 201 W. Truman Rd, Independence, MO 64050 (9:00 a.m. – 10:00 a.m.)
  • Thursday, Nov. 22: 2018 Ameren Thanksgiving Day Parade, 7th Street and Market Street, St. Louis, MO (8:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.)
  • Friday, Nov. 23: The Harrison Pavilion, 101 Harrison Avenue, Harrison, OH 45030 (2:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.)
  • Sunday, Nov. 25: Andrews Air Force Base, 1500 Perimeter Rd. Joint Base Andrews, MD (11:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.)
  • *The locations of stops are subject to change. All times are approximate and do not account for unforeseen weather and traffic delays. Monitor website at capitolchristmastree.com/tour for the latest updates.

The official tree lighting will occur in early December as determined by the Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives. 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 Adventure Vans, 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.

Governor Brown Launches 4th Grade Essay Contest: Win the chance to light the tree in D.C.!

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

 

Calling all fourth grade students: “Why do you love spending time outdoors?”

One lucky, young Oregonian will have the opportunity to fly to Washington, D.C. and join the Speaker of the House in lighting the 2018 U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree during the official ceremony. To coincide with the 2018 U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree theme, “Find Your Trail!”, we’re launching an essay contest asking 4th grade students to write letters about what they love about Oregon’s outdoors. Governor Kate Brown will select one letter from statewide submissions to receive a once-in-a-lifetime all-expenses paid trip for the winner and one guardian to travel to Washington, D.C. to take part in the tree-lighting ceremony alongside members of the House of Representatives, U.S. Senate, and the public in attendance, and also attend festivities surrounding the tree lighting taking place throughout the capitol.

Applications and essay submissions are due by Friday, September 28, 2018. The winner will be announced October 12, 2018, with travel to Washington, D.C. the first week of December. Essays submissions should be formatted with 12 point font, 1 inch margins and double spacing. Letters should be no longer than 500 words and will be evaluated on the following criteria: relevant content, clear focus, and originality.

The online application is available on the Governor's website, located here.

KEY DATES:
Last day for submission- September 28, 2018
Winner announced- October 12, 2018


 

Find an ornament while finding a trail this weekend

Friday, August 31, 2018

 

Two hundred glass ornaments were hidden along non-wilderness trails on the Willamette National Forest for lucky adventurers to find in contest hosted by the Willamette Valley Visitors Association this summer. In addition to a keepsake ornament, over 120 lucky winners have been awarded prizes, and all who register their ornament will be entered into the grand prize: a three night, four day paid trip for two to Washington D.C. in December 2018 to see the lighting of the 2018 U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree.

 

There are still 82 ornaments in the forest and Labor Day Weekend is a great time to hit the trail! We're giving you some extra hints to help get you closer to finding the remaining treasures.

*Edited: maps will be updated weekly between now and the end of the contest on Oct. 2. Download this PDF with maps indicating areas to focus on in the forest. 


The contest ends on October 2, the anniversary of the National Trails System Act. Be sure to share your adventures using the hashtags: #FindYourTrail, #FindYourOrnament, #USCapitolChristmasTree and #ItsAllYours.

 
 

 

2018 U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree from Willamette National Forest to Be Selected This Week by Architect of the U.S. Capitol

Wednesday, August 08, 2018

 

The 2018 United States Capitol Christmas Tree campaign has reached a new phase of its official process this week. A representative of the Architect of the Capitol is visiting the Willamette National Forest to review candidate trees and to select the Capitol Christmas Tree, which be displayed on the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol in December. Making the trip from Washington, D.C. is Jim Kaufmann, the Director of the Capitol Grounds and Arboretum at the Architect of the Capitol, the federal agency responsible for the operations and care of the U.S. Capitol buildings and grounds.

Together with the local “tree team,” which includes foresters and a botanist, Kaufmann is currently evaluating tree candidates and will select the 2018 U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree, although the winning tree and its location will be kept secret for security reasons until it is cut down in early November.

Kaufmann will be evaluating each tree for a variety of desired characteristics, including being 65-85 feet in height, having a straight stem, uniform branching, a perfectly conical shape, natural density, and rich green color. Each of the tree candidates is either a Douglas or Noble fir tree, the two most iconic conifer species in both the Willamette National Forest and the state. The Douglas fir is Oregon’s official state tree. Also of great importance is the tree’s accessibility by crane and semitruck for when it’s time for it to be harvested. Additionally, the U.S. Forest Service is evaluating each location to ensure the protection of sensitive habitats and species.

“Oregon is known around the country for its spectacular natural beauty, including its incredible national forests. It’s a privilege to visit the Willamette National Forest to select the 2018 Capitol Christmas Tree,” said Kaufmann. “I have no d
oubt that we will find the perfect tree for the West Lawn of the Capitol, and we’re thrilled to have Oregon be an important part of the nation’s holiday celebration this year.” “It’s very exciting to have reached this stage of the yearlong U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree process, which started in January when the U.S. Forest Service announced that the Willamette National Forest had been selected to provide the 2018 U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree,” said Nikki Swanson, Sweet Home District Ranger. “We have identified some absolutely beautiful candidates that will represent the State of Oregon perfectly, and we look forward to unveiling the winning tree in November, as we tour it along the Oregon Trail on its way to Washington, D.C.”

The U.S. Forest Service has provided the Capitol Christmas Tree every year since 1970. In January 2018, the U.S. Forest Service announced that the 2018 Capitol Christmas Tree would come from Oregon’s Willamette National Forest. A gift from the Willamette National Forest and the State of Oregon to the people of the United States, the tree will be displayed on the West Lawn of the Capitol Building in Washington, D.C., with a public tree-lighting ceremony in early December 2018. The last time Oregon was chosen to provide the U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree was in 2002, when a tree was selected from the Umpqua National Forest. Seventy smaller companion trees will also be sent to Washington, D.C., from the Willamette National Forest to decorate government buildings and public spaces this December. Additionally, Oregonians will contribute 10,000 handmade ornaments, to be created throughout 2018. There is still a great need for weatherproof ornaments that are nine to twelve inches in size to decorate the Capitol Christmas tree. Information on upcoming ornament making events, plus a template for creating one at home, is available online.

The theme for the 2018 U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree is “Find Your Trail!” in recognition of two 2018 anniversaries: the 50th anniversary of the National Trails System Act and the 175th commemoration of the Oregon Trail. In November, the U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree will travel eastward from Oregon on the reverse path of the Oregon Trail. The schedule and special events will be announced this fall. There is still a chance for people to win a trip for two to Washington, D.C., to attend the U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree lighting and festivities through the “Find Your Ornament” contest. Earlier this summer, 200 glass ornaments were hidden along non-wilderness trails on the Willamette National Forest for lucky adventurers to find. In addition to a keepsake ornament, more than 120 winners will be awarded prizes, and all entrants will be automatically entered to win the grand prize trip to Washington, D.C. The contest runs through October 2, 2018. Further details are available at the Willamette Valley Visitors Association.

 

 

 

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, 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!