Colorado will supply the 2020 U.S. Capitol Christmas tree for the first time in eight years.
The tree — which is selected from a different national forest each year — will be harvested from the Grand Mesa, Uncompahgre and Gunnison National Forests, the largest national forest in the Rocky Mountain Region, on the western slope south of Grand Junction, Gov. Jared Polis announced Monday.
An Engelmann Spruce has been selected and will be harvested this fall during a public celebration. The exact tree and its precise location haven't been released.
"I’m thrilled that one of Colorado’s magnificent Engelmann Spruce is heading to Washington D.C. to represent our state at the U.S. Capitol during the holidays this year,” Polis said in a news release. “Coloradans are proud of our state’s natural beauty, forests, and incredible outdoor spaces, and I’m glad the rest of the country will be able to see a small piece of the majesty that Colorado offers.
"While this is a difficult time for people across our state and across the country, I hope that Colorado’s contribution to the national Christmas spirit can help bring us all together," Polis continued.
The tradition of placing a Christmas tree on the Capitol lawn started in 1964 with House Speaker John W. McCormack, D-Mass., put a live tree on the Capitol's lawn. But it wasn't until almost 30 years later in 1990 that Colorado was chosen to supply the tree, also known as "The People's Tree."
Since 1990, Colorado has provided two other trees -- one from the Pike National Forest in 2000, and another from the White River National Forest in 2012.
The White House Blue Room, which as has featured a Christmas Tree most years since 1961, has not included a tree from Colorado. North Carolina and Pennsylvania have featured the most trees for White House4 with 13 and 11 respectively.
For this year's Capitol tree, the U.S. Forest Service will work with the non-profit Choose Outdoors and other companies that will volunteer and donate to help make ornaments and transport the tree to Washington, officials said.
“The annual journey is only possible with the help of strong community partnerships throughout Colorado and beyond state lines,” Bruce Ward, president of Choose Outdoors, said. “We’re grateful for the time and resources that are generously provided to celebrate our public lands and help bring hope and joy to the nation.”