Thursday, December 9, 2010

Capitol Tree

(AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
The 2010 U.S. Capitol Christmas tree was supplied by Wyoming and was lit Tuesday evening on the west front lawn of the U. S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. The 67-foot Engelmann spruce (the first Capitol tree Wyoming has provided) traveled nearly 5,000 miles by truck from the Bridger-Teton National Forest in northwest Wyoming to Washington D.C.  
The tree was cut in early November and toured 35 communities in Wyoming before heading to Washington, D.C., arriving November 29, 2010.
The tree was not too attractive when it was unloaded from the truck, but it relaxed once it was in place. Crews in Washington D.C. cemented the tree into a 5-foot hole on the capitol lawn and decorated it with 10,000 LED lights and more than 5,000 ornaments made by Wyoming residents.
While I am proud that Wyoming was selected to provide this stately tree, I am also angry that such a beautiful tree was taken from the forest, a forest devastated by bark beetles. Every healthy tree is an opportunity for the forest to regenerate.

Am I the only one who wonders why a live tree is not planted on the Capitol lawn for this purpose?


  1. I don't know enough about the process of selecting the White House tree to be angry about it being cut down. Maybe this tree was grown for this purpose or that it had reached its maturity and was ready to be cut down anyway. It's likely a new tree was planted in its place and that something useful will be done with this one when Christmas is over. I'm okay with cutting a large tree for the White House each year, because I don't think it has a significant impact on the forest. But, I'm sure there are many people who feel the same way as you do. When enough people are upset by this, then something else will be done--an artificial tree perhaps.

  2. I'm thinking they don't have the time (50 years or so?) for a tree to grow to maturity and the size needed for this event. Also, so many things can happen in the growth process... disease, insects, etc. That would really be a bummer if it happened on the White House lawn, right as the tree was getting to the stage to be used.

    It is a real privilege to get to decorate the tree... Go Wyoming!!


  3. I totally agree that a tree should be planted for this purpose. My house in Wapiti was close to the Shoshone Forest and I could not image wasting a tree from there. I call it waste because it is lost to us now :(

  4. This is actually not on the White House proper. It is part of the Mall which includes the Washington Monument and the reflecting pool. It is used year round for all sorts of things including a giant concert at the Fourth of July, My guess is the tradition started way before we became aware of the benefits of forests and current issues of forest fires and other problems besetting our forests. The space probably wouldn't be as viable for the other uses if there were a permanent, huge tree were planted there. My 2¢ worth although it is all my guesses not known facts!


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