VIDEO: National Christmas tree to come from Colorado next year

Many of us probably don’t have this year’s Christmas tree picked out yet, but it has already been announced where the 2012 Capitol tree is coming from–and it’s coming from Colorado.

It may be interesting to some to note that it is actually being called a “Christmas tree.”

It was only last week, after all, that GOP presidential candidate Rick Perry declared that President Obama had declared war on religion. And it was only last year that then candidate for the Senate Ken Buck declared–falsely as it turns out–that Obama had renamed the annual White House tree the “holiday tree.”

But here we are again, a week or so before Christmas and apparently the Capitol tree is going to be called a Christmas tree at least through 2012. The White House tree is also officially a “Christmas” tree once again.

Today, U.S. Senators Mark Udall and Michael Bennet and Congressman Scott Tipton announced that the 2012 U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree will be selected from Colorado’s White River National Forest near Meeker.

From a joint press release:

The U.S. Forest Service will work with local officials over the next year to pick candidate trees, from which the U.S. Capitol Landscape Architect will make the final pick. The decision will be kept secret until the tree is cut; afterward, it will go on tour with events around Colorado before finally making its way to Washington, D.C. A year’s worth of celebrations will call attention to Colorado’s abundant natural resources. Schoolchildren from across the state will get the chance to make ornaments to be displayed on the tree at the U.S. Capitol in December 2012.

“I want to thank Choose Outdoors and the other private and non-profit partners, as well as the U.S. Forest Service employees in Colorado, whose hard work will allow us to share a piece of our state’s glorious natural landscape with the rest of the country. Our forests are a vital resource for Colorado and help to provide clean drinking water, wildlife, jobs, and a great quality of life that helps keep Colorado one of the fittest states in the country,” Udall said. “I am so proud that Colorado will get this opportunity to highlight our wonderful forests, as well as the importance of protecting them from threats they face, including the bark beetle infestation that is devastating forests across the West.”

“Colorado is home to tremendous natural beauty unlike any other state in the Union,” said Bennet. “In 2012, our natural beauty will be on display at our nation’s Capitol for the entire country to see. We owe a huge thanks to the people of the U.S. Forest Service in Region 2, who work day in and day out to preserve and protect Colorado’s forest health, and whose tremendous efforts made this possible.”

“We are proud to be providing a piece of some of the most beautiful forest in the country to stand tall in Washington as our national tree next year,” Tipton said. “This tree is a symbol of Colorado’s unique beauty, and a reminder of the importance of our forests and natural areas to our state and to the country. I want to thank the U.S. Forest Service and their non-profit partners for their work on this, and for their continued efforts to ensure that our forests are sustainable and healthy for future generations.”

Colorado has provided the Capitol Christmas Tree twice before since the Forest Service started providing the trees in 1970: an Engelmann Spruce from Routt National Forest in 1990 and a Colorado Blue Spruce from Pike National Forest in 2000.

Scot Kersgaard has been managing editor of a political newspaper, editor and co-owner of a ski town newspaper, executive editor of eight high-tech magazines (where he worked with current Apple CEO Tim Cook), deputy press secretary to a U.S. Senator, and an outdoors columnist at the Rocky Mountain News. He has an English degree from the University of Washington. He was awarded a fellowship to study internet journalism at the University of Maryland's Knight Center for Specialized Journalism. He was student body president in college. He spends his free time hiking and skiing.