Steamboat Springs The 2012 U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree destined to stand in front of the iconic government building during this year's winter holidays will come from the White River Forest near Meeker. And before it goes to Washington, D.C., it will stop in downtown Steamboat Springs for a photo opportunity.
Steamboat families should have ample time to add a shot of themselves in front of the giant tree to their holiday greeting cards after it stops in front of the Routt County Courthouse on Nov. 6, which happens to be Election Day.
Mainstreet Steamboat Springs Manager Tracy Barnett said the organizing committee overseeing the selection of the tree reached out to the Steamboat Springs Chamber Resort Association, which handed it off to Mainstreet Steamboat to make plans for hosting the event.
The U.S. Forest Service first began providing the Capitol Christmas Tree in 1970. It has originated in Colorado twice before. An Engelmann spruce came from the Routt National Forest in 1990, and a Colorado blue spruce came from the Pike National Forest in 2000, according to an article by Dennis Webb, of the Grand Junction Daily Sentinel.
Barnett said she recalls driving to Walden to view the Capitol Christmas Tree that came from the Routt National Forest. She expects this year's tree to be trussed on a truck when it parks in front of the courthouse here but said that it's still worth seeing.
“It was really cool, and everyone was having pictures taken with it,” she said.
Barnett still hangs a commemorative ornament associated with the 1990 tree on her own Christmas tree every year.
The tree is described as a gift from Colorado to Congress, and a number of companies and government agencies are sponsoring the gift.
The staff of the Blanco Ranger District in Meeker has recommended a half-dozen tree candidates, according to the official Web page of the 2012 Capitol Christmas Tree. In mid-August, the superintendent of the Capitol grounds will make the final selection and determine the official 2012 Capitol Christmas Tree.
The tree will be cut in early November and brought to the town of Meeker for a community celebration and wrapped for its journey, according to the organizers. It will spend several weeks on the road visiting communities and military bases across the country and will arrive at the Capitol shortly after Thanksgiving.
The Capitol Christmas Tree will travel with more than 5,000 handmade ornaments. Colorado children are invited to create ornaments that depict the theme "Celebrating Our Great Outdoors," and those who submit ornaments are eligible to enter a drawing to win a trip to Washington, D.C., to light the tree with House Speaker John Boehner at a ceremony in early December.
To reach Tom Ross, call 970-871-4205 or email tross@SteamboatToday.com