US Capitol Christmas Tree comes from Wyoming
by Bridger-Teton National Forest
July 17, 2010
It’s official – Wyoming’s perfect tree to serve as the Christmas Tree for the 2010 United States Capitol holiday celebration will come from Teton County.
Ted Bechtol, who serves as the Superintendent of the U.S. Capitol Grounds, toured the Bridger-Teton National Forest in Wyoming to review 10 possible tree candidates, and selected a 67-foot Engelmann spruce tree near Jackson for the honor.
"I’ve seen a fair part of this 3.4 million acre forest and enjoyed the beautiful candidate trees nominated by Wyomingites. I am sure all of Wyoming will be pleased with the tree that we have selected." Bechtol said.
In the nation’s history, this is the first year Wyoming has been selected to supply the U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree. U.S. Senator John Barrasso requested that this be Wyoming’s year for the tree honor.
Mary Cernicek, the Capitol Christmas Coordinator for the Bridger Teton National Forest, said, "It has been a privilege to work with so many of our communities and residents in identifying this special Wyoming tree – this gift to the nation."
The exact location of the tree is undisclosed so that it remains protected and perfect.
Although the tree was selected this week, November is when it will be cut and then transported throughout Wyoming for 10 days and then travel across the country for another 10 days to Washington, D.C. Along the way, major celebrations and community events are planned as the tree makes its journey to the U.S. Capitol by December. Wyoming Governor Dave Freudenthal will give the tree a celebratory send off in mid-November.
Currently, Wyoming school children and seniors are making more than 5,000 ornaments that will decorate the tree once it is displayed on Capitol Hill. A Wyoming student will have the chance to be selected by drawing for an all expense paid trip to D.C. and be the one who "flips the switch" on the tree’s 10,000 holiday lights, attended by the congressional leadership.
Additionally, Wyoming artists will be able to enter a statewide juried competition for selection as the key visual artwork for Wyoming’s Forever West 2010 theme. The winning artwork will be displayed in the permanent U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree collection of the U.S. Agriculture Department.
History’s tradition is that the U.S. Capitol’s tree is known as "the people’s tree" and is a gift from Wyoming to be presented to Congress from the Cowboy State. The tradition gives an opportunity to Wyoming to highlight its rich history and people to the rest of the nation. The effort is funded by donations supporting the honor for Wyoming.
For more Information about the 2010 US Capitol Christmas Tree and details on the art competition and ornament project, please visit: www.capitolchristmastree2010.org or call the Bridger Teton National Forest at 307-733-5500.