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Originally published Tuesday, November 27, 2012 at 8:51 PM

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Christmas tree for U.S. Capitol in 2013 to come from Washington

In 2013, the U.S. Capitol Christmas tree will be from the Colville National Forest in Washington state.

The Spokesman-Review

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An evergreen tree from the Colville National Forest will be chosen as 2013 U.S. Capitol Christmas tree, and the public's help is needed in the search for just the right one.

It could be any evergreen species, but subalpine fir, grand fir and Engelmann spruce are considered the likeliest choices.

"Everyone is really excited for this," said Jennifer Knutson, the Capitol Christmas tree coordinator for the Colville forest. "It is a gift from the state of Washington to the rest of the United States."

Only one other time has the Capitol tree come from Washington state. In 2006, a Pacific silver fir was cut from the Olympic National Forest and trucked to Washington, D.C.

Knutson said the public can identify candidate trees and send a photograph and GPS coordinates to have them considered. Candidate trees must be in a spot where harvest with a crane and removal on a long flatbed trailer can be accomplished.

The possible trees can be submitted by email to Knutson at jenniferknutson@fs.fed.us.

Ted Bechtol, superintendent of grounds at the Capitol, will travel to the Colville National Forest by next summer to make the final selection.

Once the tree is cut, it will be trucked around Northeast Washington and then the rest of the state before making its way east to the Capitol. The lighting will be in early December.

This year foresters cut an Engelmann spruce near Meeker, Colo., and it arrived Monday in Washington, D.C., according to the official tree website.

The tree lighting is next Tuesday.

More than 2,000 residents turned out to send off the tree, Knutson said.

She said she expects similar excitement about the tree in the Northeast Washington forest communities of Colville, Chewelah, Metaline Falls and Newport.

Handmade decorations for the tree will come from children and community groups.

Choose Outdoors, a Colorado-based organization, is working with the Northeast Washington communities to find partners and private sponsors to pay for shipping the tree by truck and trailer.

In addition, Washington state forests will provide up to 75 smaller trees and decorations for government offices in the capital.

"It's neat to have the spotlight on this corner of the world," said Kathy Ahlenslager, of the Colville National Forest.

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