It’s already that time of year - the 55th Capitol Christmas Tree is headed for Washington D.C., beginning its journey from New Mexico’s Carson National Forest.
This year’s tree is a 60-foot Blue Spruce, harvested on Nov. 6, near Red River, New Mexico. The Carson National Forest Service nominated 12 trees as candidates for the Capitol Christmas Tree, with representatives from the Architect of the Capitol selecting the 2019 U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree.
The Capitol Christmas Tree is being sponsored by the U.S. Department of Transportation during its journey across the U.S. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration will be participating in-person at the tree’s more than 25 stops at community events and celebrations along the way.
FMCSA is partnering with Choose Outdoors, a non-profit organization which works with the U.S. Forest Service to harvest and transport the Capitol Christmas Tree. The agency’s goal is to raise awareness for passenger vehicle drivers, bicyclists, and pedestrians about the importance of sharing the road safely with large vehicles, particularly during the spike in travel around the holiday season.
“As this very special Christmas tree travels across America to the U. S. Capitol, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration will partner with communities to emphasize safety, especially safely driving around trucks and buses during the holiday season,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao.
A Kenworth W990 operated by Artesia, New Mexico-based Wilbanks Trucking Services is this year’s designated hauler of the U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree. The Kenworth W990 transporting the tree features a distinctive graphics package that showcases the New Mexico state flag, along with Ship Rock, mountain rock that resembles a 19th century clipper ship. On the door and sleeper, the U.S. Capitol Building is shown with a Christmas tree, with the wording: “From the Land of Enchantment to Enchanting the Nation” written above the graphics.
The 2,000-mile journey east will end on Nov. 24 at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland, before being delivered to the U.S. Capitol in late November. In early December, a special tree lighting ceremony will be hosted by the Architect of the Capitol, in conjunction with the U.S. Speaker of the House.