The Engelmann spruce selected as this year’s U.S. Capitol Christmas tree will be cut from the Kootenai National Forest next week.
In July, Superintendent of the Capitol Grounds Ted Bechtol and his staff visited the forest in Northwest Montana and inspected a half a dozen or so candidate trees. After careful consideration, he made his selection.
The 79-foot-tall Engelmann Spruce is located at the Upper Ford administrative site on the Three Rivers Ranger District in Troy.
With the selection and location of the tree known, Forest Service Law Enforcement Officer’s will provide 24-hour security of the tree until it is harvested.
There are a few activities and events being planned for the Capitol Christmas tree celebration. On Nov. 7 the public is welcome to come view the tree and take pictures. Refreshments will be provided.
The area will be closed the next day as the tree is cut.
The tree will then be escorted from the Yaak through the cities of Troy and Libby, then be stored in Libby and prepped for the almost 3,000-mile trip to Washington, D.C.
The convoy will make celebratory stops at Eureka, Whitefish, Libby, Troy, Trout Creek, Thompson Falls and Missoula.
Festivities are planned for the Eureka stop on Nov. 13. The tree will arrive at 11 a.m. in front of Eureka’s Town Hall and Chamber of Commerce at 11 Dewey Ave.
“We plan on having fun and really celebrating our Eureka pride,” said Naomi Wheat, executive director of the Eureka Chamber.
The Don K Whitefish car dealership, 6219 U.S. 93 S., will host the Whitefish stop, with the tree arriving at 2:30 p.m. Nov. 13.
The tree is scheduled to arrive in Washington, D.C., on Nov. 27, when it will be erected on the West Lawn of the nation’s Capitol. The speaker of the House will determine the date of the tree’s lighting, which is expected to be either Dec. 5 or 6.
During the reception following the lighting one of Eureka’s premier restaurants, the Front Porch Grill, will serve its signature huckleberry burger.