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Capitol Christmas Tree: One in a million

Chippewa National Forest Service personnel look for the holiday tree that will be set up at the U.S. Capitol this December.

CASS LAKE - The 2014 U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree has been selected. At the end of July, staff from the U.S. Capitol and the Washington office of the U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service visited the Chippewa National Forest to narrow down the dozens of tree candidates to the final selection. Another tree was also selected as a backup just in case something happens to the first, such as a lightning strike.

The search for the Capitol Christmas Tree began earlier this year. Criteria that the Chippewa National Forest staff considered in the search included a tree of 60 to 80 feet in size, a full pyramid-like shape without gaps, healthy branches, a straight trunk, and a species that is hardy enough to withstand transport to Washington D.C. And of course, the tree had to be found among millions of other trees that make up the Chippewa National Forest.

"It is truly an honor to be a part of the group helping to select the tree that will showcase our state on a national stage, "said Mike Theune, 2014 U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree project leader.

The location of the selected trees will not be disclosed in order to protect them from harm. The cutting date and ensuing ceremony will happen on Oct. 29. Location and time information for those activities will be released and made available to the public and communities as it gets closer.

Forest Supervisor Darla Lenz stated, "This gift from Minnesota and Chippewa National Forest provides opportunities to connect with communities and partners, and helps build awareness of natural resources of our state. Truly, a one in a million find."