Filed Under:

Nation's Christmas Tree Plucked From Colorado

Play associated audio

The undeniable smell of fresh-cut spruce filled the air Friday morning as crews crowded around the trunk of this year's Capitol Christmas Tree, prepping it for departure to Washington, D.C.

The task of finding this year's tree was left largely up to one man: Scott Fitzwilliams, forest supervisor for the White River National Forest in Colorado. In picking the tree, Fitzwilliams was asked to follow a few guidelines.

"It has to be the right size; it can't be too tall, too big," he says. "And what they look for is the fullness. So it looks like a giant version of the Christmas tree you have in your house."

As a chainsaw gnawed at the trunk of the tree Friday, sawdust piled up on the forest floor. The workers prevented the tree from falling over to protect the boughs. When the chainsaw stopped, they brought the crane into position.

As they got ready to hoist the spruce over a small cabin and place it onto a flatbed truck, a man in a fluorescent vest climbed the tree to place a sling around it to lift it up.

The crowd, mostly from the nearby town of Meeker, was electric. When the tree began to rise, cameras captured the moment. The crane gently lowered the tree onto the truck that will take it across the country.

The chosen tree, a towering 70-foot-tall, dark-green spruce, has started its journey. Along the way to the nation's capital, it will stop in 10 states.

The tradition of the Capitol Christmas Tree began in the 1970s. The federal government chooses a particular national forest, and then the forest supervisor picks a few candidate trees. The final selection is then cut down and hauled to D.C.

Gerald Morris is one of the drivers this year. When he found out the tree was coming from the White River National Forest, he decided to put his commercial drivers license to use.

"It's a great thing to be involved in such a project. And everybody gets to see something they'll probably never see again," he says.

The tree is scheduled to be lit the first week of December.

Copyright 2012 KAJX-FM. To see more, visit http://www.aspenpublicradio.org.

NPR

Book Review: 'Born To Run,' Bruce Springsteen

Music critic Will Hermes reviews a new autobiography from Bruce Springsteen called Born To Run.
WAMU 88.5

A Matter Of Taste: What Prix Fixe Menus Say About D.C.'s Dining Scene

Is a meal for a special occasion worth hundreds of dollars?

NPR

Clinton-Trump Showdown Is Most-Watched Presidential Debate

An estimated 84 million people watched Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump in their first debate Monday, according to TV ratings data from Nielsen, making it the most-watched debate ever.
NPR

When Phones Went Mobile: Revisiting NPR's 1983 Story On 'Cellular'

The report titled "Cellular Phones Are Completely Mobile" features a man who was "among the first 1,500 customers to use a new mobile phone system called cellular."

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.