The Seward Phoenix Log - News of the Eastern Kenai Peninsula since 1966

By Annette Shacklett
LOG Editor 

Tree felled, starts trip to nation's capitol

 

Annette Shacklett | The Seward Phoenix LOG

Above: The Capitol Christmas Tree is gently lowered onto a trailer and begins its journey to Washington D.C.

The spirit of Christmas came to Seward early this year.

On Tuesday a consortium of groups came together to cut down the tree chosen for this year's U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree. Following the cutting, preparations and send-off celebrations began for the tree's 4,000-mile trek to Washington D.C.

At noon Chugach National Forest hosted the tree cutting at Mile 12 Seward Highway. Chugach National Forest Supervisor Terri Marceron thanked those who made the event happen. Seward Mayor Jean Bardarson spoke of the honor Seward feels at being the area from which the tree was chosen. John Ross of the Kenatize Tribe told of his interaction with the tree and blessed it for its journey. Sen. Lisa Murkowski's aide, Michelle Blackwell, relayed the Senator's enthusiasm and support of the project to take the tree to D.C.

Then the tree came down – carefully. Lines had been attached to the tree so that it didn't topple over. Instead, once it was cut, it was lifted and gently turned on its side and placed on a long specially-fitted trailer.

The "People's Tree," as it's called, is a 90-year-old 74-foot Lutz spruce.

By 5 p.m. the tree was trucked to downtown Seward and the send-off celebration organized by the Seward Chamber of Commerce began. For the throng of people who went, there was dancing and music, Christmas card making, snacks and beverages at Alaska SeaLife Center.

The tree heads north with a stop in Moose Pass at 10 a.m. Saturday at Trail Lake Lodge, then on to Anchorage for a stop at Cabela's from 5 to 8 p.m. Friday and from noon to 4 p.m. at the Trick or Treat Street event.

Then it's off by barge to Tacoma where it'll hook up with a truck for the drive across the Lower 48. Viewing and learning events will be held at stops along the way.

About 4,000 ornaments have been made for the tree and will be presented at the Capitol.

Leon Youngblood | The Seward Phoenix LOG

Right: Santa Claus does his part to get the tree on its way to the Capitol.

Sen. Lisa Murkowski sponsored an essay contest that has 400-some entries. The Senator will select a winning essay and she will bring the contest winner to D.C. for the lighting ceremony on Dec. 2.

An enormous number of people, government agencies, nonprofit groups and businesses are making the placement of the Christmas Tree at the U.S. Capitol possible. Chugach National Forest selected and donated the tree. Choose Outdoors coordinates logistics and events related to getting the tree into place.

The tree's travel can be tracked online at http://www.capitolchristmastree.com. Additionally the website has information about the tree, history of the tradition, projects and events, and tributes to sponsors. The tree also has a facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/USCapitolChristmasTree.

 

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