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 for the U.S. Forest Service tells Missourinet that the 84-foot-long white fur, nicknamed Sugar Bear is from a northern California national forest.
“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 open to the public from 6-8 p.m. on Saturday
“We certainly could have taken the quickest route to D.C. This program connects people to their National Forests and public lands. 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. It is a traveling museum with an exhibit. 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.”
The U.S. Forest Service has provided the U.S. Capitol christmas tree every year since 1970. The year-long process of selecting the perfect tree for the Capitol’s west yard is exhausting. 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 was chosen each year from all 50 states, but not 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.
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