U.S. Capitol Christmas tree to come from Oregon

An early Christmas gift was given to Oregon. The 2018 Capitol Christmas tree will be cut from the Willamette National Forest.

Posted: Jan. 19, 2018 10:14 AM
Updated: Jan. 19, 2018 5:05 PM

SWEET HOME, Ore. -- This year's U.S. Capitol Christmas tree is coming from the Willamette National Forest.

In November, 70 smaller trees and 10,000 handmade ornaments will also be sent to Washington, D.C. from Oregon. The smaller trees will be used to decorate other government buildings and public spaces. The ornaments will depict Oregon's cultural history, people, landscapes, natural resources, fish and wildlife.

Oregonians are invited to participate in U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree activities around the state during 2018.

-Find the tree! The public is invited to hike and drive the Willamette National Forest—outside of the City of Sweet Home—to find the perfect Capitol Christmas tree.

  • To submit a potential candidate tree, GPS the location, snap a photo, and send the submission to capitolchristmastree2018@gmail.com, or drop your information off at the Sweet Home Ranger District Office.
  • Guidelines: The perfect tree is 65 to 85 feet tall with a conical shape that is visually pleasing from all angles. The tree must reside on U.S. Forest Service land in the Sweet Home Ranger District, preferably close to a road that will allow for access for a semi-truck and cranes to harvest the tree.
  • Submission deadline: May 2018. Don't forget to share your adventures on social media with the #USCapitolChristmasTree, #FindYourTrail and #ItsAllYours hashtags.

-Join an ornament-making event or host your own. Ten thousand handmade ornaments will adorn the Capitol Christmas Tree and the 70 smaller companion trees. There will be ornament-making events throughout Oregon in 2018.

  • The first event will take place on January 20 at the Boys & Girls Club in Sweet Home at 1 p.m. The address is 890 18th Ave, Sweet Home, OR 97386.
  • The Willamette National Forest also invites schools, churches and community groups to contribute ornaments.
  • There will be templates and instructions posted on the website and social media. For a schedule of events and further details, visit www.capitolchristmastree.com.

-Join the journey. For a look at the travel route, schedule and special events click here.

The People's Tree will be cut from the Sweet Home Ranger District. This year's theme is Find Your Trail!" recognizing the 50th anniversary of the National Trails System Act and the 175th commemoration of the Oregon Trail.

A modern-day wagon train carrying the trees and ornaments will start its journey eastbound from Sweet Home in November. It will follow the path of the Oregon Trail in reverse.

RESOURCES: For a look at the travel route, schedule and special events click here.

"We are thrilled to be delivering the 2018 U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree, and we invite all Oregonians to be a part of this special experience throughout 2018—from making an ornament to exploring the Willamette National Forest with family and friends—in search of the perfect tree to send to Washington, D.C.," said Nikki Swanson, Sweet Home District Ranger, Willamette National Forest.

The last time Oregon was chosen to provide the Capitol Christmas tree was in 2002. It came from the Umpqua National Forest.

"We are very honored to have been chosen to provide the 2018 U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree, and to share some of our state's incredible beauty with the rest of America," said Gov. Kate Brown.

The tree will be on display on the West Lawn of the Capitol Building and be lit at a public ceremony in early December.

"As you will find, citizens in this community are very prideful and to be able to look up and say that came from our community, that’s going to mean a lot for our citizens," said Greg Mahler, the Mayor of Sweet Home. 

Since 1970, the Capitol Christmas tree has been provided by U.S. Forest Service.

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