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Christmas tree project underway at Chippewa forest

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Christmas tree project underway at Chippewa forest

CASS LAKE — Chippewa National Forest employees partners and community members have been building up momentum to secure a 65-foot tree to Washington, D.C., where it will grace the front lawn of the U.S. Capitol.

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Supervisor Darla Lenz announced last December the forest will provide the 2014 U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree.

“It’s a wonderful opportunity to highlight Minnesota’s vast natural and cultural resources.” noted Lenz.

The U.S. Forest Service has been providing the US Capitol Christmas Tree since 1970. This is the second time the Chippewa National Forest has provided the tree. Many people in the community remember the “Tree to DC” project in 1992. This year, the 2014 U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree effort involves selecting a 65-70 foot spruce or balsam fir from National Forest lands. Another 60-70 smaller Christmas trees will also be sent to Washington D.C. to decorate the inside of the Capitol building. The forest will work with communities, organizations, and schools to create over 10,000 ornaments for the trees.

Christmas tree ornaments have quickly become the most popular way to get involved in the U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree. Ornament Committee chair Lynn Dee Stangel notes “We have already received commitments from groups around the state to participate, tallying up to 8,000 ornaments promised already!” There are many ways to get involved with this national project. The forest will be working with county fairs across the state on an ornament contest (different from the 10,000 ornaments). Minnesota artists are invited to compete in an art contest this summer. Event and Tree Committee members are also looking for fiber artists interested in creating 70 tree skirts to accompany smaller trees placed in the US Capitol building.

Currently, forest employees are keeping an eye out for the perfect tree, and have already nominated three trees. By June, the forest hopes to have at least 15 nominee trees. Final selection will occur in August. The Tree Committee is working with local partner Wille Transport, which will truck the tree from northern Minnesota to D.C. The tree is expected to be cut in late fall.

“The most memorable part of the 1992 Tree To DC event was the community connections we built,” said Mary Nordeen, outreach coordinator.

In December, all the partnerships and hard work will culminate with the tree lighting ceremony in Washington D.C. From the Chippewa National Forest to the U.S. Capitol, the tree will be decorated in loons, walleyes, beadwork and everything Minnesotan. To learn more about the 2014 U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree, contact Mike Theune at 335-8673 or follow the Forest webpage at www.fs.usda.gov/chippewa or on Twitter at twitter.com/Chippewa NF .

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Denton (Denny) Newman Jr.
I've worked at the Brainerd Dispatch with various duties since Dec. 7, 1983. Starting off as an Ad Designer and currently Director of Audience Development. The Dispatch has been an interesting and challenging place to work. I'm fortunate to have made many friends, both co-workers and customers.
(218) 855-5889
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