Northwest Christmas Tree Starts Journey to Congress’ Front Lawn

Nov 4, 2013

The Christmas tree destined for the nation's capital begins a cross-country road trip this week, starting in the Northwest.

This year, the carefully-chosen Capitol Tree is a spruce from Washington's Colville National Forest. And getting an 80-foot tree out of a national forest isn't quite like going to a U-cut.

This is no logging operation. For starters, this year's tree is on Kalispel Tribe ancestral land. So on the chilly morning of the cutting ceremony, members of the tribe performed a blessing.

Before cutting, the tree is rigged up to a pair of cranes. The cranes then gingerly lift the spruce off its stump and slowly ease it onto the bed of a truck. This tree has to arrive in one piece.

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Over the next several weeks, the tree will make stops in Washington, Idaho and nine other states before being lit by Speaker of the House John Boehner in early December.

Kalispel vice chairman Ray Pierre says some members of the tribe were initially a little skeptical of removing the tree. But, he says, it's an honor to send the tree to the capital.

“It'll be really cool when we watch the tree lighting ceremony on TV and be able to tell my kids, 'That tree came from right up the river across the trail there,’” Pierre said.

The tree’s decorations will include ornaments made by 7,000 kids from Washington state.