U.S. Capitol Christmas tree will come from Alaska’s Tongass National Forest

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An anchored commercial fishing troller enjoys some serenity in Roosevelt Harbor on Zarembo Island. September 9, 2019. Tongass National Forest. (Photo by Eric Castro)

Alaska’s Tongass National Forest, known for its steep mountains, glacial fjords, salmon-filled streams and towering spruce and hemlocks, will supply this year’s U.S. Capitol Christmas tree.

The announcement was made on Wednesday by the U.S. Forest Service and by Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska.

“The Tongass is a special place for so many Alaskans who call it home – a place rich with resources and Native cultural history. This holiday season, I can’t wait to share some of the amazing aspects of the region and our state with the Capitol and the entire nation as we welcome The People’s Tree,” Murkowski said in a statement.

“On behalf of the hundreds of Forest Service employees who call Alaska Home, please know that as Team Alaska, we are overjoyed to be able to be a part of something bigger than ourselves, and to spread joy and cheer across the country,” Acting Alaska Regional Forester Chad VanOrmer said in the statement released by Murkowski.

Each year, a different national forest is chosen as the source of the Christmas tree displayed outside of the U.S. Capitol. Last year’s tree came from West Virginia’s Monongahela National Forest.

At 17 million acres, the Tongass is the largest U.S. national forest and encompasses most of the Southeast Alaska panhandle. It is also the world’s largest intact temperate rainforest, according to the Forest Service.

The second-largest U.S. national forest is also in Alaska: Southcentral’s 5.5-million-acre Chugach National Forest. The Chugach supplied the national Christmas tree in 2015.

The tradition of a Capitol Christmas tree goes back to 1964, according to the Architect of the Capitol’s office. National forests have been supplying the tree since 1970, according to the office.

The Architect of the Capitol, in consultation with the Forest Service, selects the individual tree to be displayed as the U.S. Capitol Christmas tree.

Alaska Beacon is part of States Newsroom, a network of news bureaus supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity. Alaska Beacon maintains editorial independence. Contact Editor Andrew Kitchenman for questions: info@alaskabeacon.com. Follow Alaska Beacon on Facebook and X.

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