A giant 65-foot Sierra white fir tree left the Stanislaus National Forest in the central Sierra Nevada Mountains of California on Saturday, headed for Washington, DC. The tree selected to be the 2011 Capitol Christmas tree was loaded onto a special trailer with a custom-built cradle, pulled by a Mack Pinnacle.
According to the Sierra Sun, while the cutting of the tree is managed by the U.S. Forest Service, most of the costs associated with transporting of the tree across the country are covered by donations from the business community. The newspapers lists some of those donations as provided by Bosch, Wells Fargo, Black Oak Casino and the Tuolumne Band of Me-Wuk Indians. The Sun reported that a Mee-Wuk tribal elder blessed the tree just before the trip.
This year’s partners also include Mack Trucks and Royal Trucking of Concord, CA, which are providing trucks and drivers to transport the U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree as well as 100 smaller trees that will be placed in federal offices throughout Washington.
After arriving in Washington, the tree will be decorated with almost 10,000 low-energy LED lights and thousands of ornaments. A lighting ceremony on the west lawn of the Capitol will be held on Dec. 6, and the tree will remain lit throughout the holiday season.
The tradition of “the People’s Tree” began in 1964, and national forests rotate responsibility for providing the tree.