The U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree is making 25 pit stops in America, including one in southwest Missouri’s Springfield this week. A crew is traveling cross country from California to Washington, D.C. and will be making a stop at Bass Pro Shops Headquarters in southwest Missouri’s Springfield on Saturday.
Samantha Reho, spokesperson with the U.S. Forest Service, tells Missourinet the 84-foot white fur, nicknamed Sugar Bear, is from a national forest in northern California.
“That district – more than half of it – burned last year in the 2020 August Complex Fire, which is the single largest wildfire in California history. So, we’re taking a tree that came from an area that was heavily burned and being able to showcase it as a symbol of unity and strength. I think that also represents all Americans,” she says.
The tree will be available for the public to view this Saturday from 6-8 p.m.
“We certainly could have taken the quickest route to D.C. But this program exists to connect people to their public lands and their National Forest. So, it was a really neat opportunity for us to be able to travel to different communities at their invitation, both large and small, to be able to showcase the tree on a much larger level,” says Reho. “What they can expect to see is essentially an educational interpretive display. We like to think of it as a traveling exhibit with an art museum. So, they’ll have the opportunity to learn about our forests to learn about the many people including the 16 tribes that call the six Rivers National Forests or ancestral homes, and also be able to learn about the tree itself.”
Every year since 1970, the U.S. Forest Service has provided the U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree. The process to choose the perfect tree to be showcased on the west lawn of the Capitol is a year-long undertaking. Among other things, it includes the selection of the tree, providing up to 60 companion trees for offices throughout Washington, D.C.; partnership with local and state groups in the creation of 15,000 ornaments that celebrate the state’s cultural history and people, landscapes, natural resources, and fish and wildlife, public events during transportation of the tree, and multiple tree lighting receptions.
The tree has been chosen annually from all over the United States, but not from Missouri.
The “People’s Tree” is scheduled to arrive in Washington, D.C. on November 19. To view the tree’s 3,000-mile route, go to capitoltreetracker.com.
To listen to the Show Me Today interview, click below.
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