5:53pm

Tue December 4, 2012
U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree

Colorado Lawmakers Celebrate Lighting Of The US Capitol Christmas Tree

Colorado Senators Mark Udall and Michael Bennet welcomed the lighting of the U.S. Capitol Christmas tree Tuesday evening. The 73-foot Englemann spruce came from Colorado's White River National Forest near Meeker.

The tree arrived in Washington D.C. on November 26th following a tour of the country, and was lit by Speaker of the House John Boehner

Senator Mark Udall called on Americans to remember the importance of forests to the US economy, as well as the country’s quality of life.

The 2012 US Capitol Christmas Tree in Meeker, CO
Credit Ripple Creek Lodge Owner Dan Schwartz

"It is a great honor for Colorado and the White River National Forest to provide the Capitol Christmas Tree to the nation. The tree highlights the importance of our national forests for our tourism economy and the businesses who locate here for our quality of life,"

Udall said.

"As we light this tree, I hope it remains a shining reminder to my colleagues inside the U.S. Capitol of the importance of our forests and why we need to protect and preserve them for our generation and all future Americans."

Senator Michael Bennet also congratulated the town of Meeker, where the tree was cut.

“…Thank you to the hundreds of students who provided the handmade ornaments decorating it. Coloradans and visitors from all over the world already know how special our state is. It is a special treat to share a little bit of home with everyone who lives in and visits Washington this holiday season."

Since 1970, the state that provides the U.S. Capitol Christmas tree, also provides thousands of ornaments.

This is the third time that Colorado has been asked to provide a tree. The last time was in 2000. 

In July, Senator Udall led a hike through the White River National Forest to help select the tree.

In a joint statement, both Senators said the tree is an important symbol of all Colorado has to offer.

"The tree is a symbol of  Colorado’s open spaces and outdoor recreation. The tree also is a visible reminder of the severe wildfire season Colorado experienced this year. During the tree's national tour, one of the partners for the project, Choose Outdoors, raised funds to help restoration efforts for the High Park and Waldo Canyon fires earlier this year."