Each year, the National Forest Service chooses a national forest to cut and transport a tree to the U.S. Capitol in Washington D.C. for the annual Christmas tree display. This year, the tree will come from the Six Rivers National Forest in Northern California and will take a tour across the country to eventually be displayed on the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol building for the holiday season.
The tree chosen for this honor is beautiful 84-foot white fir in Six Rivers, which has been affectionately dubbed “Sugar Bear”. Six candidate trees were identified and presented virtually to Architect of the Capitol staff, with each tree receiving unique nicknames connected to the state animal of California, the bear.
“Selecting a tree to adorn the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol comes with a unique set of challenges in any given year, but especially with this being the second year the search and selection has been conducted virtually,” said Jim Kaufmann, Director of Capitol Grounds and Arboretum at the Architect of the Capitol. “Thanks to drone footage, comprehensive photos, compelling narration, and detailed notes and measurements, we were able to select a majestic white fir that very well represents the Six Rivers National Forest and the great state of California.”
The People’s Tree will be harvested from the Mad River Ranger District, which was most recently impacted by the largest recorded wildfire in California history – the 2020 August Complex Fire. Nearly 160,000 acres, or a little over 50 percent of the total district, was destroyed and burned by fire associated with the August Complex last year.
The Architect of the Capitol’s team will decorate the tree with thousands of handcrafted ornaments from the people of California. The tree will be lit in early December 2021 by the Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives in as a time-honored tradition in its 51-year partnership with the U.S. Forest Service.
Festivities will be hosted by local communities at parks and plazas, schools, memorials and monuments, stadiums, main streets and even a parade. Well-wishers will have a chance to sign the banners on the sides of the truck, learn more about the Six Rivers National Forest, purchase U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree merchandise and more. Beginning October 29, the tree’s journey can be tracked in real time online at capitoltreetracker.com hosted by Spireon, Inc. Festivities are free and open to the public for all to enjoy.
Here is the schedule where you can see the tree in NorCal on its way to Washington D.C.:
Friday, Oct. 29
9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. Del Norte Visitor Center (1001 Front Street, Crescent City, CA 95531)
4:00 – 6:00 p.m. Eureka Waterfront (Madaket Square Boardwalk, D Street, Eureka, CA 95501)
Saturday, Oct. 30
10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. Willow Creek Mainstreet (CA Hwy-299, Willow Creek, CA 95573)
4:00 – 6:00 p.m. Fortuna River Lodge (1800 Riverwalk Drive, Fortuna, CA 955340)
Sunday, Oct. 31
12:00 – 3:00 p.m. Pear Tree Shopping Center (504 East Perkins St, Ukiah, CA, 95540)
Monday, Nov. 1
10:00 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. Golden Gate National Recreation Area (435 Murray Circle, Sausalito, CA 94965)
3:00 – 5:00 p.m. Vallejo Waterfront Ferry Stop (289 Mare Island Way, Vallejo, CA 94590)
Tuesday, Nov. 2
3:00 – 6:00 p.m. Dixon May Fair (655 South 1st Street, Dixon, CA 95620)
Wednesday, Nov. 3
10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. California State Capitol (1010 L Street, Sacramento, CA 95814)
5:00 – 7:00 p.m. Mother Lode Fairgrounds (220 Southgate Rd, Sonora, CA 95370)
Thursday, Nov. 4
12:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m. Downtown Mariposa (Hwy 140 between 9th and 10th Street, Mariposa, CA 95338)
Saturday, Nov. 6
8:30 – 10:30 a.m. Rose Bowl Stadium (1001 Rose Bowl Drive, Pasadena, CA 91103)
3:00 – 5:00 p.m. Redlands West Pearl Avenue (between Eureka and Orange Streets Redlands, CA 92374)