SONORA — The Stanislaus National Forest will provide the official Christmas tree for the U.S. Capitol next year.
A conifer at least 60 feet tall will be felled in November 2011 and trucked to the west front lawn of the Capitol, Forest Supervisor Susan Skalski announced Thursday.
This is the first time that the Sonora-based forest has been chosen for the honor by the U.S. Forest Service. The agency has provided the Capitol tree from somewhere around the nation since 1970.
Public celebrations are planned to coincide with the selection, cutting and shipment of the Stanislaus tree.
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"We look forward to working with groups and individuals representing the state and general public in completing the many tasks related to harvesting the tree and preparing it for the great journey to Washington, D.C.," Skalski said in a news release.
The route for the tree has not been announced.
This part of the country is on something of a streak: The turkey to be "pardoned" by President Obama this Thanksgiving will come from a Stanislaus County flock raised by Foster Farms.
Theodore Bechtol, superintendent of the Capitol grounds, plans to visit the forest in late spring or early summer to look at potential trees.
He will choose from up to 10 finalists identified by the Forest Service. The possibilities include incense cedar and a few species of pine and fir.
The forest will provide about 75 trees of various sizes for federal offices in Washington.
The Bridger-Teton National Forest in Wyoming is the source of this year's Capitol tree, a 67-foot Engelmann spruce.
Bee staff writer John Holland can be reached at 578-2385 or email@example.com.