An 84-foot white fir tree with Californian roots will grace the west lawn of the United States Capitol building, but not before a two-hour stop Monday at the ferry terminal on the Vallejo waterfront.
The ‘People’s Tree’ arrives on a 100ft trailer after being cut down in Six Rivers National Forest on Saturday.
Since the headquarters of the U.S. Forest Service Pacific Southwest Region is on Mare Island, “we thought it should end here,” local forest service spokesman Steve Dunsky said, adding that ” we got a great response from everyone” in Vallejo.
Each year, the USDA Forest Service selects one of its 154 National Forests to provide a tree to appear on the West Lawn of the United States Capitol building for the holiday season. Six Rivers National Forest, in partnership with nonprofit partner Choose Outdoors, is orchestrating this year’s treetop trip from California to Washington, D.C. for the 2021 holiday season.
Under the theme “Six Rivers, Many Peoples, One Tree,” the white fir was cut last Saturday, a day early because of the impending storm, Dunsky said.
After Vallejo, she continues her 3,300-mile journey that will include 25 outdoor community celebrations before being delivered to the United States Capitol on November 19. The tree will then be decorated with handmade ornaments and tree skirts created by Californians and lit in early December.
The chosen tree, named “Sugar Bear”, is the first Californian tree chosen for the West Lawn of the United States Capitol since a tree was picked from the Stanislaus National Forest 10 years ago. The first tree harvested in the state was from Klamath National Forest in 1986, followed by Plumas National Forest in 1995.
“The tree cutting process is quite complex,” Dunsky said. “It’s 84 feet and you can’t ‘drop’ it like a normal.”
Dunsky said the tree “doesn’t touch the ground” until it arrives in Washington, D.C.
Monday’s brief visit to Vallejo is hosted by Mare Island-based tree care company, A Plus Tree, Inc., and includes a town proclamation, entertainment, music, tree-making, and more. ornaments, raffles, games and a beer garden.
Working with the U.S. Forest Service, A Plus Tree performed 100% of the planning, coordination, authorization and production facilitation for the event, spokeswoman Sarah Gaskin said Wednesday.
“We also financially support all expenses incurred” and provide 18 volunteers, Gaskin continued, adding that “it’s amazing how the community has come together to offer their services, get involved and help create so many bonds. for us and for it to come together as it did.
Gaskin praised the Mare Island Brewing Co., Cal Maritime cadets “and Vallejo’s famous mad hatter,” and said the city of Vallejo and the police department “really stepped up to make everyone Permits and logistics are moving quickly.”
A Plus Tree’s involvement in the Capitol Tree Tour “began with a casual conversation about a year ago with a colleague, Miranda Hutton of the US Forestry Service,” Gaskin said. “I never knew the Capitol Tree was a thing. Miranda asked if we wanted to host. I said ‘Absolutely, we like to do fun things.’ About six months later I got a call from someone else at the US Forest Service and it just snowballed from there.
The Capitol Tree Tour “provides another opportunity to show how great Vallejo is,” Gaskin said. “It’s such a unique event and I was impressed with how quickly everyone in the community got behind it to help make it as successful as possible.”
The tree will be escorted by a mini parade that includes the Vallejo Police Department, Cal Maritime Color Guard cadets, a drumming band of former Solano/Widenmann members, Santa and Mad Hatter mascots, Quetzalli AC Ballet Folklorico and other community representatives. Six Flags Discovery Kingdom will also be hosting a coat drive with one free theme park ticket for each donated coat (maximum four free tickets).
The event, although early in the afternoon, is expected to attract significant visitors from the community and outside Vallejo, said Michael Browne of Visit Vallejo.
“We are thrilled and grateful to be one of 25 outdoor celebrations and we are thrilled to be part of the tree’s journey to our nation’s Capitol,” Browne said.
Because the Capitol Tree Tour “is considered a national security event,” the tree is guarded along the way, Dunsky said.
“We don’t foresee any threat to Vallejo,” he added.
A parade on Mare Island Way sometime after 2 p.m. helps introduce the tree’s 3 p.m. arrival, Dunsky said, with Forest Service booths “to talk about what’s going on with the tree.”
Afternoon activities are free, and the city has approved free parking in the only usually permitted lots in front of the ferry building, Dunsky said.
Although COVID-19 pandemic precautions have changed the usual multi-state shutdowns in DC in 2020, the tree was harvested from Uncompahgre National Forest in Colorado. He then traveled to 10 communities for a series of socially distanced outdoor festivities hosted by local communities in several states.
“The U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree Campaign exists to connect people across California and across the country to the outdoors and to their public lands,” Six Rivers National Forest Forestry Supervisor Ted McArthur said in a statement. Press. “We are honored to represent the California National Forests and bring the joy of the people’s tree on their trip to Washington, DC”
The Six Rivers National Forest comprises 974,612 acres of mountainous land that stretches from the Oregon-California border south about 140 miles to Mendocino County.
For more information on the Vallejo event, visit www.aplustree.com/capitoltree. For news, events and tour information, visit uscapitolchristmastree.com, as well as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.