Capitol Christmas Tree celebration to be held near Troy

by MTN News, Carly Garrison

TROY – The Montana tree selected to be displayed as the U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree will be cut down in less than a week.

Organizers said on Wednesday that near Troy on Nov. 7 a celebration will be held to showcase the Kootenai National Forest tree.

The tree is a 79 ft. tall Engelmann Spruce that is located at the Upper Ford administrative site on the Three Rivers Ranger District in Troy.

Until the official cutting down of the tree, Forest Service Law Enforcement Officers will provide 24-hour security of the tree, according to the US Capitol Christmas Tree website.

According to their Facebook page, at 2 p.m. on Nov. 7, the Upper Ford Historic Ranger Station near Yaak, Mont. singers, forest officials, and Montana leaders will gather to celebrate the beginning of the tree’s 2,300-mile journey to the Capitol.

The event will also include photo opportunities with the tree and sawyer, cookies, hot cocoa and an ornament sale. The tree is scheduled to be cut the next day.

Yaak School Singers along with Kootenai National Forest Supervisor, Chris Savage; Senator Jon Tester; Representative, Chad Campbell; Lincoln County Commissioner, Jerry Bennet are among those who will be in attendance at the event.

The tree will travel across the country making various stops along the way before making its way to Washington.

The 70-foot-tall tree will travel by way of Whitewood Transport, a Billings-based trucking company.

The stops will include Montana the towns- Whitefish, Missoula, Helena, Great Falls and Glasgow – along with stops in North Dakota, Kentucky and West Virginia. The stops will allow people across the country to sign the wrapping on the truck.

Senator Tester announced on Tuesday that a Bozeman sixth grader was chosen to officially light the tree in Washington. Ridley Brandmayr will light the tree on Dec. 6 at the annual holiday ceremony in DC.

The last time a tree was selected from the Kootenai National Forest was in 1989 and it was an Engelmann Spruce. The last time a tree came out of Montana was 2008.

The Forest Service has partnered with nonprofit Choose Outdoors on the Capitol Christmas tree project.