Forest officials in New Mexico are ready to harvest a towering blue spruce that will serve as this year’s Christmas tree in front of the U.S. Capitol.
After nearly a year of planning, the tree will be cut down next week during a ceremony in the Carson National Forest. New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham and forest officials will be there on November sixth when the 60-foot tree comes down.
Once cut, the tree will be lifted by cranes onto a trailer and secured for the first leg of its journey, which will include a statewide tour before being transported to Washington.
The holiday tree was almost left standing after a judge originally ruled that there could no longer be timber harvests in five national forests in New Mexico and one in Arizona until wildlife managers came up with a better plan to protect habitat for the threatened Mexican Spotted owl. However, a judge later allowed for limited wood cutting in those forests.
Officials say the U.S. Capitol holiday tree celebrations are made possible with cash and in-kind contributions from numerous companies and volunteers who provide their time and resources.