Capitol Christmas Tree to tour Northwest Montana

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The 2008 Capitol Christmas Tree, the last to be provided by a Montana forest. (Wikimedia Commons image)

As lawmakers, dignitaries, journalists and tourists make their way to the U.S. Capitol this December, they’ll all pass a tree from Kootenai National Forest.

The forest has been chosen to provide this year’s Capitol Christmas Tree. On Friday, the Forest Service announced dates and locations for the U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree Tour.

Since 1970, the “People’s Tree” has been plucked from national forests and other protected areas around the country. Kootenai has had this honor once before, sending an Engelmann Spruce to the nation’s capital in 1989. The only other Montana forest to provide the tree has been Bitterroot, which sent a sub alpine fir in 2008.

This year’s not-yet-selected evergreen will be cut Nov. 8. Kootenai National Forest, with support from nonprofit Choose Outdoors and various state and national corporations, will then send it on a 3,000-mile cross-country journey. It will make celebratory stops in Eureka on Nov. 13; Libby, Troy and Trout Creek on Nov. 14; and Thompson Falls and Missoula on Nov. 15.

The tree will make similar stops in other communities in North Dakota, South Dakota, Missouri and Kentucky, before arriving at the Capitol on Nov. 27, in time for an early-December lighting ceremony.

More information about the tree can be found at www.capitolchristmastree.com.

Reporter Patrick Reilly can be reached at preilly@dailyinterlake.com, or at 758-4407.

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