The 2012 Capitol Christmas Tree was harvested earlier today on the Blanco Ranger District of the White River National Forest. The 73-ftt Engelmann Spruce was located approximately 40 miles east of Meeker on Country Rd 8 on a site currently used by Ripple Creek Lodge, a special use permit holder.
With over 100 people in attendance, Ken Coffin, Blanco District Ranger, welcomed everyone to the event. Speakers prior to the cutting included Mayor Meeker Mandi Ethridge, Rio Blanco County Commissioner Shawn Bolton, White River National Forest supervisor Scott Fitwilliams, Choose Outdoors founder Bruce Ward, and Congressman Scott Tipton.
Following the short speeches, the tree was cut while onlookers enjoyed refreshments provided by Ripple Creek Lodge. Attendees were treated to a unique display as the tree was hoisted onto the bed of the Mack truck which will transport it throughout its national journey.
The tree is scheduled to arrive in downtown Meeker around 4:30pm, and there will be events in Meeker this evening. A larger community celebration will be held on Saturday, November 3. For more information on the Meeker events, visit the Capitol Christmas Tree website (http://capitolchristmastree2012.org/) or the Meeker Chamber of Commerce website (http://meekerchamber.com/2012-capitol-tree-celebration).
Following the celebration in Meeker, the tree will be wrapped for its journey across Colorado and the U.S. The Tree will visit 28 cities on its way to Washington, D.C., where it will be joined by 70 subalpine fir and Douglas-fir trees provided by the Colorado State Forest Service. These companion trees, which were harvested from the Colorado State Forest and a Larimer County Tree Farm, will spend the holidays in U.S. government offices. The CSFS also provided 5,000 tree “cookies” – ½-inch-wide cross-sections of small tree trunks – to students around Colorado to be decorated as ornaments to adorn the Capitol Christmas Tree and its companion trees.
The 2012 Capitol Christmas Tree has stops planned in the following towns and cities:
November 6 – Rangely-Steamboat Springs
November 7 – Dillon – Glenwood Springs
November 8 – Grand Junction – Montrose
November 9 – Cortez – Durango
November 10 – Pagosa – Alamosa
November 11 – Colorado Springs – Denver
November 12 – Greeley – LaJunta
November 13 – Albuquerque, NM
November 14 – Amarillo, TX
November 15 – Dallas, TX
November 16 – Oklahoma City, OK
November 17 – Independence (Kansas City), MO
November 18 – St. Louis, MO
November 19 – Nashville, TN
November 20 – Atlanta, GA
November 21 – Asheville, NC
November 22 – Concord, NC
November 23 – Staunton, VA
November 24 – Allentown, PA – Milford, PA
November 25 – Andrews AFB
November 26 – U.S. Capitol, Washington D.C.
To track the 2012 Capitol Christmas Tree, visit www.CapitolChristmasTree2012.com or www.trackthetree.com. You can also follow the tree on Facebook: www.facebook.com/CapitolChristmasTree2012, Twitter: www.twitter.com/CapitolTree2012 and Pinterest: https://pinterest.com/capitoltree2012/.
Photos from the tree cutting: