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U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree to visit Asheville on 2020 tour

Asheville, NC, November 17, 2020 – Every year, a different national forest is selected to provide a tree to appear on the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol building for the holiday season. For the 50th year of the tradition, the Grand Mesa, Uncompahgre and Gunnison (GMUG) National Forests provided the selected tree. The Forests, in partnership with nonprofit partner Choose Outdoors will bring this special gift from Colorado to Washington, D.C. for the 2020 season, involving several communities along the way including an appearance in Asheville, Tuesday, Nov. 17, from 3-6 p.m. at the Asheville Outlets (800 Brevard Road).

Under the theme of the “People’s Tree,” the 55-foot-tall Engelman Spruce was harvested on the Ouray Ranger District near Montrose, Colorado, Nov. 5 and prepared for the 2,000-mile expedition. The journey will include a series of community celebrations Nov. 10-20 throughout Colorado to Asheville, culminating with the official tree lighting on the West Lawn in early December.
Festivities during the tree’s visit to Asheville will include a visit with Santa Claus, a toy drive, food trucks and more. Activities are open to the public and entry is free.
Safety of event attendees and staff will be a top priority. Face coverings are required for the event and social distancing will be maintained. Entry to the event area will be limited in accordance with state health department guidelines for outdoor events and sanitation stations will be setup throughout the event area. Attendees may also opt for the drive through option.
“We are thrilled and honored to have the Capitol Christmas Tree Tour stop here in Asheville as its only stop outside of Colorado. This will be a great event that can bring the community together in a safe way to celebrate the season,” said Cavan Fitzsimmons, Acting Forest Supervisor for the National Forests in North Carolina.
The initiative made possible with cash and in-kind contributions from companies large and small as well as volunteers locally and across America, who provide vital support of time and resources. 2020 sponsors include Kenworth Truck Company, Apex Transportation, 42 Degrees North Media, Spireon, Inc., Hale Trailer, Chuck Leavell, Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, STIHL, Truckload Carriers Association, Great West Casualty Company, Valley Crane, Red Wing Shoes, National Forest Foundation, Society of American Foresters, LexisNexis VitalChek Network, Inc., The Joy Trip Project, Loki, Montrose County, Delta County, Seirus, TravelCenters of America, Bass Pro Shops, Citizens State Bank and Vesmir.
For additional information on the Asheville event, follow @nfsnc on Facebook or visit www.capitoltreetracker.com . For news, events and tour information, and to track the tree’s cross-country travel, visit www.uscapitolchristmastree.com  and follow the GMUG @GMUG.NF on Facebook.
About the Grand Mesa, Uncompahgre and Gunnison (GMUG) National Forests
Located on Colorado’s famed western slope, the Grand Mesa, Uncompahgre and Gunnison (GMUG) National Forests are a combination of three separate National Forests. Combined, these forests cover approximately 3 million acres of National Forest System land in the central and southern Rocky Mountains, an area that lies south of the Colorado River and west of the Continental Divide with some of the most spectacular scenery in the Rockies. Located on the western slope of the Colorado Rockies, the GMUG is the largest national forest administrative unit in the Rocky Mountain Region and reputedly, the fourth largest in the contiguous forty-eight states. It hosts a variety of forested and non- forested riparian areas, wetlands and a wide range of other ecological settings from alpine tundra to sage-grass prairies.
About the USDA Forest Service
The mission of the USDA Forest Service is to sustain the health, diversity and productivity of the nation’s forests and grasslands to meet the needs of present and future generations. The agency manages 193 million acres of public land; provides assistance to state and private landowners; and maintains the largest forestry research organization in the world. Public lands the Forest Service manages contribute more than $13 billion to the economy each year through visitor spending alone. Those same lands provide 20 percent of the nation’s clean water supply, a value estimated at $7.2 billion per year. For more information, see www.fs.fed.us.
About Choose Outdoors
Choose Outdoors works to increase all American’s enjoyment, appreciation and support for outdoor recreation activities that connect them to our public lands. These connections will ensure that our public lands will always be there for future generations to cherish. www.chooseoutdoors.org.
About the National Forests in North Carolina
To receive instant alerts and updates on forest information, follow @nfsnc on Twitter and Facebook or visit us on the web at www.fs.usda.gov/nfsnc. The National Forests in North Carolina (NFsNC) are where gentle mountain slopes stretch for miles, with gardens of magenta rhododendron, salt marshes that connect to the sea, and lakes surrounded by pine forests. The NFsNC include the Croatan, Uwharrie, Pisgah, and Nantahala National Forests. Every year 7 million people visit these forests to camp, hike, mountain bike, hunt, fish, take scenic drives or enjoy the forest’s solitude.

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