By JOHN BLODGETT
The Western News
The U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree has been identified: “The People’s Tree” is a 79 ft. tall Engelmann spruce located in Upper Ford administrative site on the Three Rivers Ranger District in Troy, the Forest Service announced Monday.
The tree is the second U.S. Capitol Christmas tree to come from the Kootenai National Forest. The first one was felled in 1989. The tradition of choosing from a national forest a Christmas tree to appear on the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol began in 1970.
According to a news release, Superintendent of the Capitol Grounds Ted Bechtol and staff visited the Kootenai National Forest in July and “inspected a half a dozen or so candidate trees.”
“After careful consideration, (Bechtol) made his selection,” the news release states, without indicating when he made his decision.
Now that the tree has been identified, Forest Service Law Enforcement will guard it 24 hours a day until it is cut down Nov. 8.
The public will have a chance to view the tree on Nov. 7. The news release does not indicate a time or directions to the site, but states that event details and other news will be posted to www.facbook.com/kootenainf/ and www.capitolchristmastree.com.
Those websites also have details about the tree’s pending almost 3,000 mile journey to Washington, D.C.