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The fate of the Capitol Christmas tree - KPAX.com | Continuous News | Missoula & Western Montana

The fate of the Capitol Christmas tree

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KALISPELL - It was a very special gift from Montana to Washington, D.C. 

The US Capitol Christmas tree made the cross-country journey and arrived in early December. 

House Speaker Paul Ryan and 11-year-old Ridley Brandmayr of Bozeman officially lit the Capitol Christmas Tree back in early December, and while the countdown only took a few seconds the build-up took decades.

"This tree has literally grown in Montana for decades and endured brutal fire seasons," said Senator Jon Tester. "Braving harsh winters. Reaching the height of almost 80-feet. It probably provided shelter for bald eagles and shade for elk." 

The tree, an Engelmann Spruce did not grow to tower so tall on its own. It was nourished as a seedling in the rich soil of Montana's Kootenai National Forest.

"It not only represents stands the strength of the Holy Spirit it represents the strength of our nation and our great state of Montana," said Sen. Tester.

"This isn't one of those Clark Griswold trees you can put in the corner and hide the blemishes," said Kootenai National Forest supervisor Chris Savage.

He added that in the end, the Christmas tree will essentially be part of the Capitol grounds forever.

"You know they're very conscientious about recycling and composting and so a lot of the ornaments had to be made out of recycled material and so what they will do is chop up the tree and use it for mulch back on the Capitol grounds."

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