This Year’s Capitol Christmas Tree Makes 2,000-Mile Trek from New Mexico to D.C.

Santa Clause and Smoky Bear were on hand as the Capitol Christmas Tree began it's 2,000-mile journey in Red River, New Mexico.
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This year’s Capitol Christmas Tree is a 60-foot blue spruce from Carson National Forest in New Mexico. The tree was cut amid lots of festivities in October.

The tree then made stops in 25 communities as it made its 2,000-mile trek from New Mexico to Washington, D.C. in early November. It arrived at the U.S. Capitol Building on Nov. 25.

Keeping with tradition, the tree will be decorated with thousands of ornaments made by school children from its home state of New Mexico.

Known as “The People’s Tree,” the first Capitol Christmas Tree was planted in 1964 when the Speaker of the House placed a live Christmas Tree on the lawn of the U.S. Capitol.

This year’s theme will highlight a very important birthday, according to the USDA Forest Service. Not only is this year’s tree a beautiful Christmas gift to the nation, it is also a 75th birthday present to the world’s most recognized fire prevention hero, Smokey Bear.

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Coincidentally, the real Smokey Bear, the badly burned cub who helped inform Americans on the importance of wildland fire prevention, was found in the Capitan Mountains of New Mexico after a forest fire in the late 1940s.

The Capitol Christmas Tree will be lit on Dec. 4 in Washington, D.C. and Smokey the Bear will be attending.

Another prominent tree, the National Christmas Tree, is a 30-foot Colorado spruce which came from Palmyra, Pennsylvania this year. Like its predecessors, this tree was transplanted live in President’s Park at the White House.

The Capitol Christmas Tree’s cross-country trip was monitored by real-time GPS location tracking using FleetLocate as it made its way from New Mexico to the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. so that people across the country could follow its progress.

The National Park Service planted the tree in October, and it will be lit on Dec. 5 during the 97th National Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony. The National Christmas Tree has been a living tree cared for by the National Park Service since 1973.