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Thousands gathered at the state Capitol Tuesday to see the tree that’s going to the U.S. Capitol for Christmas.
For the first time in more than 40 years, the U.S. Capitol Christmas tree is from West Virginia. It was harvested in the Monongahela National Forest in Randolph County on Nov. 1.
“It’s a Norway Spruce. It came from Laurel Fork Campground in Randolph County,” said Meadow Arbogast, a conservation educator with the U.S. Forest Service. “It’s 63 feet tall and weighs about 8,000 pounds.”
She said the tree comes from a different region every year.
“Every year, a different national forest is selected to provide the tree for the U.S. Capitol Christmas tree. It usually goes by region, so there are 10 regions of national forests in the United States, and Region 9 was selected'” she said. “There are a few states in Region 9, but finally, it came back to West Virginia. We’ve done this project two other times, in 1970 and 1976.”
It was 67 degrees in Charleston on Tuesday evening, and Arbogast said it was nothing like that the day the tree was cut down.
“Our harvest day was 19 degrees, and it was snowing,” she said. “So, this is incredibly different than cutting it down!”
Charleston won’t be the last place West Virginians can see the tree, though it is bundled up and loaded on a 100-foot flatbed truck.
“We have quite the journey still,” Arbogast said. “It will be delivered on Nov. 17, and we have more stops to come. I think this is stop No. 5 of our 19-stop tour.”
The tree came to Huntington on Wednesday. Wheeling is next, followed by Morgantown, Davis, Romney and Harpers Ferry. The tree will be lighted on the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol after Thanksgiving.
West Virginia Tour Schedule
- Thursday, Nov. 9 (Wheeling) 11 a.m. – 1 p.m. White Palace at Wheeling Park
- Friday, Nov. 10 (Morgantown) 3 p.m. – 5 p.m. 84 Lumber
- Saturday, Nov. 11 (Morgantown) 11 a.m. – 1 p.m. Operation Welcome Home at Mylan Park and 2:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m. WVU, 243 High St.
- Sunday, Nov. 12 (Upper Tract) 2 p.m. – 4 p.m. Swilled Dog/Raymond’s Gymnastic Center
- Monday, Nov. 13 (Davis) 3:30 p.m. – 5:30 p.m. 533 Building
- Tuesday, Nov. 14 (Romney) 10:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. WV Schools for the Deaf and the Blind.
- Wednesday, Nov. 15 (Harpers Ferry) 12 p.m. – 2 p.m. Harpers Ferry Job Corps Center
- Thursday, Nov. 16 (Prince George’s County) 4:30 p.m. – 6:30 p.m. Joint Base Andrews (Base only)
- Friday, Nov. 17 Delivery to West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol Building