The Nation Unwraps Wyoming’s Grand Gift
[imgbelt img=CapitolChristmasTreeunload320.jpg]A 67-foot spruce from the Tetons tours Wyoming and then makes a long trip East, a gift of cowboy stature to Washington, D.C.
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U.S. SenateComing all the way from the Bridger-Teton National Forest in Wyoming, a huge spruce was delivered to the nation’s capitol.
Deep in the Blackrock District of the Bridger-Teton National Forest, a 67-foot Englemann spruce faced an unusual fate. It might have been logged for plywood or attacked by tree-killing beetles. Instead, it was spotted by Forest Service employee Sandra Seaton, who thought it would make a perfect Christmas tree. U.S. Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) had pushed for the Capitol Christmas tree to come from Wyoming, for the first time ever, and thanks to Seaton, organizers had found the ideal one. “Sandra’s tree” was selected to be the most famous of its Wyoming evergreen brothers and sisters.
As Barrasso said, “People around the Cowboy State say we need more Wyoming in Washington. In Washington, folks can always use a reminder of Wyoming values – honesty, integrity, independence, and a strong work ethic. For the next four weeks, Washington will have a beautifully lit symbol of our state. This tree is Wyoming’s Christmas gift to America.”
The Capitol Christmas tree is not the same as the National Christmas tree. The current National tree is still living, having been uprooted in 1978 from a farm in Pennsylvania. It is planted on the Ellipse, the area between the National Mall and the White House. That’s the one commonly lit each year by the president.
Talbott also had a chance to interact with the folks who were driving the trucks. Known as “Team Tree” they kept a blog of the journey and posted pictures of their stops along the way. Talbott and her bookseller at the Wheatland Book Nook were in the right place at the right time when the tree convoy stopped in town. They managed to deliver signed copies of Talbott’s book about the history of Platte County to the drivers of the main tree truck and the truck carrying the companion trees.
“What fun to have those Platte County books traveling to Washington with the Capitol Christmas tree,” she said. “It was also wonderful to see all the signatures on the banner on the side of the truck. Hardly any place was left for more signatures, but I found one right above the left side of the W in Wyoming. It was a joyous, lighthearted day, and I was glad I was there.”
Sandy Seaton, who first noticed the towering Englemann spruce in the Bridger-Teton National Forest, died before seeing her dream for the tree realized. But her ability to imagine a giant tree as one of Wyoming’s most appealing exports should remind people of Wyoming values for years to come.