From Minnesota to Washington D.C. The 2014 U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree

From Minnesota to Washington D.C. The 2014 U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree


From Minnesota to Washington
DC, the 2014 Capitol Christmas Tree
is made possible by the Minnesota Arts and
Cultural Heritage Fund. For over 50 years the nation’s Capitol has
had a Christmas Tree. Since 1970, the US Forest Service has had the
honor of providing that
Christmas tree. The tree that stands
on the US Capitol grounds is known
as the people’s tree. Is everybody ready? In 1992 the Chippewa National
Forest in north central Minnesota
provided the people’s tree.
Now again in 2014 the honor falls on
the Chippewa National Forest and the Leech Lake Band of
Ojibwe. to provide the nation’s
Christmas tree. Hi! I’m Mary Laplant. I work on the
Chippewa National Forest. My position is
a biological technician. So on the normal day I do surveys for rare plants. But I have a very special project this year.ppI’m working on the Capitol Christmas Tree. The
Chippewa National Forest and the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe
and the state of Minnesota are presenting the Christmas
tree that will stand on the
Capitol lawn for the nation. My job is tree team lead and we are looking for the tree that will go out there
and stand on the lawn. So here is what we know about
that one. It is 75 feet tall, 17.7 diameter. Today I met with the tree team
and our tree team is in charge of finding the tree,
packing it up and getting it all
the way out to DC. So far we started
the selection process by sending out
a message to all Chippewa National Forest
employees telling them what we were looking for.
And asked them to keep their eyes open from
April until the end of June. They needed to submit their
candidate. They took a picture and measured the tree
height and diameter, those were our candidates.
Today our meeting was to look at our
candidates and to decide which 12 trees
that we want to show to the representatives
from DC who will come and actually
choose the tree that is selected to go out there.
We looked at what it looked like. How tall it is?
What species it is? Whether or not there
is a road next to it? So it would be easy to
get to and get out of there. We found twelve trees that
we are going to present to Ted from DC.
So the Balsam is actually That Balsam is pretty darn
nice. And how tall is it? 59.
So it’s short. Well the perfect tree would be 65- 80 feet tall. White spruce certainly
on the national forest land within the
reservation boundary. It would be symmetrical,
nice shape. What’s the next one.
This is a behemoth 33 inches. 85 feet. Look at that
there is a lot of timber in that. It’s not real
consistent the crown isn’t Can your crane handle it? Some of the specs from Ted said
something about consistent
crown from top to bottom.
No double tops and no curve. Yeah we are putting
all those things together and that will be our tree.
If we can find that all in one tree
it would be a slam dunk. Yeah it was snowy when
I found this one. If you chunk off. That makes
that tree look alot better. Ted from Washington DC who is the supervisor
to the Capitol grounds is going to make a trip
to the Chippewa and spend a couple of days looking at all
of our 12 candidates.
And he will select the tree. He will also select two
alternates. And those two alternates
are in case there is a wind event and the top of our
perfect tree blows out between July and October. Okay so are we visiting
all these trees today? No we are going to decide which ones
we are going today I believe.
So before Ted gets here we are
going to preview our sites. We have photographs and
locations on a map of these
trees. Myself and the others
on the tree team are going to go out
to each one. Make sure that it looks as nice
as the photo. And that it
really is a good place to access.
And we’ll preview them and make sure
it’s okay to submit them as candidates. Mary heads out
into the Chippewa National
Forest with Millie Baird to vet
potential candidates. It’s 51 feet away.
I know it’s a Balsam fir. I think that might be… not
it. Let’s check it out.
There is another one behind it.
I’m guessing this is the one he might.
The mosquitoes and ticks of 2014 were the fiercest in
memory. Very nice shape.
Very pretty. I don’t see flagging but I
like this one better than that Seems to be the
one he meant. Nice and close to the road.
We could get people in here to see it. We can get filler. They would need
a filler there and there but that’s the one he marked.
What we had to do today is make
sure it is good candidate and
I think it is. Maybe a little
short. I think the next candidates
are just down the road. This should be easy.
Go to the next stop. Find the next bunch of trees. Okay so we can make it. Mary and Millie are off to the
next location where more
mosquitoes await. Oh look at the bugs. The bugs are here. We’re thinking it might be
this one right here. But there are some other ones just
ahead that we are going to
look at. I want to see that really quite
tall one. If you guys aren’t opposed
to walking there. Do you want to walk on this little trail? ppSure and look at his other one. Yep that’s a good trail. Oh they
look like they are right on the road here. Those look like
blueberry plants. Oh yeah They are coming. It will be
just blue here pretty soon. Blueberry heaven for your
picking. I’ll have to remember
this spot. So probably the one that I see the top of
is one of his candidates. Look at that!
What plant is this? I’ve never seen this plant
before. Okay. Slight pause.
I do surveys to find rare plants that are in areas that we
are considering possibly doing some activity. We get off track really easy.
Sorry. Cause if we are going to do
an activity we want to consider all the alternatives and any possible effects.
So my job is to find any of these rare plant
species that we have a list. Find them if their there.
I’ve never seen this one. It looks more like an
exotic. But I have no clue.
There is a lot of them. This could have been
somebody’s homestead That’s basically where we find the best open
grown trees for our Christmas tree. This is a fern that I’ve only seen up on the Superior. PPSo this is kind of a uniquepplittle habitat. It looks like it has
gold on it. Does it flower? I don’t know
these are interesting little structures. I wondered if it
was another plant growing on it.
It was a really really cool
woodsy smell if you crush it in your
fingers. I thought it was Sweetburn
but… Oh nice! There are two candidates here.
There is a flagged one. There are some nice ones in
here. Oh boy. If we don’t
mind the short hike. Well they are kind of all over. I think we got to head out
through there. Well there is some
more down the road but it doesn’t matter. Both roads let’s goppdown the road and come back. Okay cause there is that one I’m kind of curious
about that thing. See that’s the difference
between the spruce and the fir. That’s the spruce it gets
taller but they grow more open. Firs to me look more
Hollywood Christmas treeish. Like that. Yeah! But they are not very
tall like you said. This one is flagged.
Yeah that’s one of them by my GPS.
It’s interesting this isn’t one of the ones
I would have selected out of this bunch.
That one seems a little … Well it’s a candidate.
This one is flagged which I can see that because
that one is pretty conical
shaped. Yeah I’m wondering… Well I would
say definitely bring him out
here. and let him see what’s here.
Yep I think we definitely we’ve done what we need
to do. Really I’m curious about this tall spruce.
The really tall one? Yeah. Like that one is really
tall but stops. You want to cut through
here and look at those ones. Sure. Yeah I guess it’s worth
showing him these. It’s an easy enough drive and we
can cover quite a bit of the
forest if it’s just a stop This is where all the finest
mosquitoes live. The hungry
ones are here. I feel like I’m in Alaska
or something. This is I think
the worst I’ve ever seen the mosquitoes.
Oh well I can show you worse if you’d like.
So I’m thinking there in here.
Well I don’t see any habitat for rare plants right
here so that’s easy. I don’t want to keep flagging
here but that is pretty nice. Do you see one? Nope just got
swarmed by mosquitoes there.
Yeah it’s pretty swarmish. I stopped walking they caught
up with me. Here’s one yeah I’m not sure how filled
out this one is because it’s actually two trees.
I’m thinking this is going to get through out.
It’s missing half of it. Here’s one here too! I mean it doesn’t take the long
to stop here and check it out. I think that is all of them at
this site. That is the most interesting thing.
This is really interesting. I’ve been in the woods
in the Chippewa National Forest
for a long time and I have not
seen that plant. So we’re going to figure out what this is.
They are everywhere. I have this little bag and I picked a little samples. PPThere is blueberries everywherepptoo. Oh look at the strawberry!
Who wants dessert? This one ripe. Very good. Man that has a lot of flavor. Oh look at that fruit, flowers, It’s like we planned
a little picnic here. Ha there is a way through. That looks nice!
Oh look at that. That’s the right size. Right species. Definitely
has the height. Right on the road. Be a nice place
we could have a few visitors. come and watch.
It’s not very full. Which is nice for wrapping it. but I just can’t picture that
in front of the Capitol. Where would you put all the
ornaments? Ornaments for the tree are being made all ppover the state including the Bug O Nay Ge Shig school.
I’m Carol Kloehn. I’m better known
here as Christmas Carol. I was watching Lakeland News
one evening when I found out that the selection for the
Capitol tree was coming from the Chippewa National Forest.
I called up the forest ranger and talked to
staff there and asked what can needs to be done.
In 1992 the school went and made ornaments.
I’d asked can our school make them.
There was meeting for the elders here, to have the elders
blessing on each of these ornaments
is more meaningful and paves the way
to Washington DC. On another day Millie Baird
and Michael Mackey vet another GPS deep within
the Chippewa National Forest. So the road
we’re on was looks like it’s going down that way.
Out here it looks open over there so I’m going
to probably go take a look. You want to hold on to that.
I’ll be right back. leaves crunching Brush moving Millie! Find it?
Yep! Keep coming down the road. Okay. Oh there you are.
I think we could probably get in on this furrow here and
it would get us pretty close. to the tree. Okay. ? ? ? ? So I’d imagine that this is Justin’s tree here.
It is a nice tree. Full, tall, big. Access is not so great. You going to have to come through
the site. So is that all we need to look for
is height, access… One of the nicer trees
I think that we looked at. Beautiful. If a tree this
large were to be chosen special considerations would have
to be made with it’s
transportation. I’m Tom Zahn from Wille
Transport in Cohasset, MN. I’m here with
my 11 year old daughter Hailey. We are going to haul the
tree from Bemidji MN to Washington DC. When we first
heard about the Capitol Christmas Tree project.,
I contacted the Forest Service to find out how to
become a sponsor or get involved with the transporting
of the tree to DC. And they put me in touch
with a gentlemen named Bruce Ward. He contacted me and kind of got the ball rolling
and since then there been many correspondence to
get this thing under way. Back
in 1992 Wille Transport hauled
the National Tree which was cut at the
Chippewa National Forest. We selected a couple of other veteran PPdrivers that are very wellppqualified to haul the tree.
I think that’s pretty cool. what? That you are going to help
bring the tree to DC. My hope for my kids
with us hauling the tree is just to build a seed that the whole
northern part of the state of
Minnesota kind of come together to
put this thing together to get it to DC. Mike Theune,
the Chippewa National Forest Public Affairs Officer is the
2014 project lead. One of the
most fun aspects of this project is when we get
to invite folks from
Washington DC out to our National Forest. After the candidate trees
were selected the superintendent of grounds from the
architect of the Capitol’s
office came out and narrowed down
our trees to 3 finalists. My name is Ted Bechtol.
I’m superintendent of the US Capitol Grounds,
which is part of the office of the architect of the Capitol.
I’m up in Minnesota looking for the
perfect Christmas tree. indistinct talking Selecting the Capitol Christmas Tree is a great
project that I look forward to every year. And it is
radically different from my
day to day responsibilities
in Washington. My routine duties are
really the landscape maintenance of all the
grounds around the Capitol. and the office buildings
that are on either side. And I enjoy getting out and seeing
different parts of the country.
But it’s a great honor to be able to select the
tree, that then my staff
decorates and sets up over a course of 7-10 days.
And then it’s up illumated in a brief ceremony with the Speaker
in early December. Well the forest that’s chosen each year is really a
forest service project. The tradition really
recently started in the mid 60’s.
There was a need to have a routine or a standard
reliable tree provided for the
architect of the Capitol. and for the Congress
year after year after year. So the Speaker at the time
contacted the Forest Service and they made arrangements to then provide a tree for the
Capitol each and every year. So someone has to go
out and select a tree. And again it’s a Forest Service
project but I work with the Forest Service
and selecting a tree…. One thing I’m going to want
to know is the spread because that’s important. Crown spread
at the widest point. So that’s good for
everyone to know really. And we got together with the
team the first day we arrived
and we had a presentation
of all the photographs. and a brief description.
Typical things that we’re concerned with are
the height of the tree, the
species, and location too.
How far back is it off road. Some of those logistical concerns
are important. I’m looking for primarily at the ornamental
characteristics of the tree. Mike, Mary and Ted prepare
to take the crew deep into the
forest. Mary maps out the days route. Mike prepares for any
circumstance, You are going to be out for a day right not PPa week? I don’t have to fill itppall the way up. This one works the best.
Be very careful not to get it on your glasses.
Mary warns the visitors from Washington DC on the
aggressiveness of Minnesota’s mosquitoes. The caravan heads
east out of Cass Lake. They turn south at the historic Big Winnie Store
in Bena towards Federal Dam. So that would be worth stopping and checking out. Good to see some
new country. It certainly is
yes. There is 155 different national
forest and to have folks
from the Washington office tromp through the
woods with you and choose to have a conversation around a
happy positive product
is so much fun. We head out into the field,
I make notes on each
candidate. as to sort of an aesthetic
rating how I think it’s going to look on
the west front. And sort of a proprietary system that I’ve developedPPover the years and mypppredecessor used a similar type
of evaluation system. Yeah that’s a hard thing. Mike I’m using the rate scale.
So we’re fussing over height. What do you think?
Is this tall considering? Yeah this is our tallest Balsam.
The other Balsam’s we have our between 50 and 55 feet. And we have one that one particular Balsam that I think is 51 feet.
That’s the one that you said is beautiful and it is.
It’s Christmas tree to the
bottom. Yeah. But it is a 50 footer,
so. Did you want to measure the trunk?
That’s more open here than denser it seems a bit.
The top quarter of it. The folks from DC
got to experience our bugs, our woods, our lakes, our environment but most of all they gotPPto experience the community ofppthe forest. Which is something that
I think all of us will
remember for the rest of our career
and lives. Is that It’s got a funny top on it Mary.
You can see how it almost changes character.
See how Oh I see how it feels kind of
compact. It’s loose and open and then
it’s more compact than that. It’s like it broke off and
it resprouted on it.. I also take photographs as
I go along and review those. And I usually take a day or so
and think about which tree is going to be actually selected.
Often there is several in the running.
I go back and forth and sort
of reevaluate those and might get some additional feedback
from the Forest Service as far
as particular characteristics
of the species and some technical data sometimes. As someone like myself
who is new to the US Forest
Service. There is a lot I don’t know.
So one of the most stable rocks I’ve had
in this whole process is Beverly Carroll.
Beverly Carroll works out of the
Washington office and the office of communications
for the US Forest Service. And she has provided not only
guided and encouragement, support. … Hi! I’m Beverly Carroll with the
US Forest Service in Washington
DC. I am a program manager for the Capitol Christmas Tree. I I have been working with
the Forest Service 39+ years with this project going
on 20 at the conclusion of this years events.
She is such an asset to the Forest Service
and to this project and because of it, she’s an asset
to the nation. At the
conclusion this year, it will be a
glorious one because in March of 2015
I will be retiring from the US Forest Service
with 40+ years of federal service.
The days search concludes else on
the Leech Lake Reservation there is celebration.
My name is Logan Monroe I’m from Leech Lake
over on Sugar Point and I’m at the Onigum Pow Wow. I’m very honored to have a
Christmas tree from around my area. to go to Washington DC.
Cause a part of Minnesota is going
to Washington DC and that’s going to
be good for our state I think the Christmas tree
going to Washington DC will just have us more
recognized as a state and nation. My name is Monica Oothoudt and I dance Onigum Pow Wow. And
I represent Leech Lake Senior Princess.
I choose to be a role model for the
younger kids in my community and participate in Pow Wows as
I take this title. Them getting
the Christmas tree I think it gives us a
bigger name for the area and make Leech Lake stand out
more. At the Beltrami County
Fairgrounds in the RoboShack.
Students make ornaments for the Capitol Christmas Tree. Lakeland Public Television’s,
engineering manager Tom Lembrick leads the Robo
Shack. Nice I like that. ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? The next day deep in the
northwoods of Minnesota, Ted and the rest of the crew
continue to vet candidates. Hoping to see a couple of more trees maybePPeven better trees then what weppsaw yesterday. Is there one spot
that kind of has open canopy? So I guess I have to play it by ear.
A crew from Lifetouch Photography and North
Star Aerial joins the caravan.
Let’s go! I’ll pick up the
rear. Are we there yet? Seems like we’ve gone
sort of far enough. I think it said 400 feet. I’m going to to scout it out.
The tenacious mosquitoes persist. What do we think here? There is the trunk of it.
Oh wow that is a beast. Wow. Can you see the
whole thing from there? We need dimension it looks
like. You know Scott it’s a pretty nice tree up on top. It’s just hard to get a good view
of it all the way around. That’s a big healthy tree though.
Yeah I wonder if you might be able to see it
even through the brush. if you back up in different
angles. There might be an opening in the brush.
Do you think we can find
another open area off to one of the
sides. I’ll call you if I can see it. Oh Mary is this a little
clearing back here? Yeah let me Hey Ted! There is a spot here where you can
see it from a different angle. The nice thing about
bushwhacking is that your moving. Little bit
of character there on that side.
And you know that’s not too far up from
where would actually taking it. You okay without net. I’m getting ready to get me one.
Cause you forget I’m sweet. The next spot will be
a little hike into it’s kind of behind two burms.
Joined by Bruce Ward of Choose Outdoors. The team
heads to the massive tree vetted by Millie and Michael
earlier in the summer. ? ? ? ? ? ? There appears to be a problem. A wind event may have removed
the top from the giant tree.
Is this the tree for sure? I can see where that was a nice tree. There we go. A false alarm
the team breathes a sigh of relief.
Well this one is easy to see. Yeah which is nice. ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? It’s been here for quite a
while. I’d say 140?
I’m not really sure.
I’m thinking maybe 85-90. This is kinda of in a nice
growing area. for spruce it has a lot of
moisture coming off of the
lowland. back here.
So that makes a big difference. Alright hey
everybody it’s late. let you know we are about to
go airborne with this so heads
up. drone helicopter lifting off drone buzzing ? ? Adam Geiss of North Star Aerial records footage from a drone. ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? drone buzzing drone buzzing Alright hey he’s coming down. drone buzzing drone buzzing drone buzzing drone buzzing drone buzzing drone buzzing drone buzzing And with that concludes
the second days search. The decision will now be Ted’s to which of these candidates
will become the 2014 US Capitol Christmas Tree. Elsewhere another group
works on ornaments. My name is Frank Bera. I’m vice president of Bemidji’s
Woodcarver’s club. We were asked at the senior citizen center
in Bemidji. This week we are concentrating
more on the carving of the Christmas ornaments
that are going to be going on the Christmas tree in
Washington. Most of us haven’t carved
anything big in flat style. like we are doing. Some of it is
a little harder to do than
others. Because of the intricacy
of the carving. This is a little display This one here is carved completely
all the way around. So if it happens to be hanging
further out on a branch and it
turns people still can see
what it looks like. You can see our theme
is more Christmas and northern material
and some of the others are just more
dictative normal things that happen
in northern Minnesota. It’s lots of fun but to do it
is the biggest honor of all. The 2014 US Capitol will be
adorned with over 10,000 ornaments made in Minnesota. As the cutting ceremony nears
early one morning Lynn Dee Stangel demonstrates
how the ornaments will be
shipped to Washington DC.
We have wrapped all of ornaments for the
long trip to Washington DC. We’ve wrapped them in the
beautiful gift wrapping paper
here. The ones with the
snowman are going to be for the companion trees.
And the ones with the cardinals are going
to be for the Capitol tree. on the Capitol lawn.
We have seven pallets of ornaments., so it
should be beautiful. When they take them off the truck we can
have them all nicely gift
wrapped and easy to maintain and find out what’s in the packages.
Ted has picked the tree! The team prepares for the next
days cutting ceremony.
Millie secures the location. A front end loader is necessary
to help maneuver the extra
long trailer and truck from Wille Transport down
the narrow woods road. During the months of planning,
summer mosquitoes have given way to
autumn sleet and snow. Tom Zahn of Wille Transport
positions the truck in front of the
giant White Spruce that Ted Bechtol has choosen
to be the 2014 US Capitol Christmas Tree. Mike Thuene
takes us on a tour of the tour that was originally
vetted by Michael and Millie
early in the summer.
So I want to show you what is going to be the
2014 US Capitol Christmas
Tree. It’s exactly what we
are looking for and as the tree finder has shared with me;
from the moment you see it, it not only represents
the forest but represents the state of MInnesota.
I’m Justin Tabaka I’m a biological science technician here
on the Chippewa National
Forest. And I was able to find the
Capitol Christmas Tree that
the architect for the Capitol chose
to select off of our forest. If you look around this site there
is some pink and blue flagging We had originally been out here
in the fall of 2013 looking for additional sites that we
were going to harvest perhaps
in a salvage sale. And as I was
coming around the line I made it to the far end of the unit
and looked behind myself and of
course saw that enormous spruce tree. And I thought that looked like the
perfect tree for us to include
in the list of nominees.
Yeah quite the tree. Looking Good! Alright! The experience itself would have to be just thatPPof knowing it was the perfectppcandidate. It was just self satisfying. You know this is it.
This was my nominee. I think this is a great one and you justPPhope that they are going topppick it. Justin Tabaka is congratulated
by Lynn Dee Stangel for his
find. Meanwhile cranes and their crew arrive for the cutting. trucks and cranes driving trucks and cranes driving trucks and cranes driving This is the 2014 US Capitol
Christmas Tree! 88 feet tall, 30 inch diameter.
It’s 88 years old. It’s seen history and this is what Minnesota is about
the stories that make us who we really are. How in a project of this
magnitude be given to someone who is so new
to the agency. It’s such an honor. When the days are
long; the mornings rough,
the afternoons rough the evenings rough,
I feel a sense of honor that the forest leadership
has entrusted someone who is so new to the agency
to pull off a project like
this. But I know it’s because
success surrounds itself with success.
To have that staff that has that capacity, like Mary Nordeen
or Melissa Rickers and Traci
Cloud that I work with on a day to day basis. PPWho combined the three of thempphave over 70 years of
Forest Service experience. That’s so irreplaceable.
Without those three I would be lost. While
I might be the day to day point person if all the
other staff were to go behind the scenes. They make the event
and everything else look easy. The sleet and snow worsens as the cranes
move into position. The tree with the broken top
from earlier in the summer may serve to donated
branches to the 2014 US Capitol Christmas Tree.
One of the great things about this project
is we’ve partnered completely with the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe.
And one of the great people that had an opportunity to
work with is Ryan White. Ryan White is the public relations managerPPfor the Leech Lake Band ofppOjibwe. And both him and I are able to talk one on one,
as a group with others and really leverage
our resources and assets to pull a project
of this scale off. I can say with a 100% conviction
that without Ryan White and his staff and others
in the Leech Lake Band of
Ojibwe we would not be able to successfully
pull this project off. The days work concludes See you tomorrow!
The next day Mike is ready.
Big Day! Are you ready?
I’m ready! Are you ready? I am ready.
What does it feel to be getting ready to cut down the tree?ppIt is awesome. The staff, the forest, the
whole crew have worked so hard on this
project. To see this come to a
culmination as we transport the US Capitol
Christmas Tree to Washington
DC. It’s awesome! Today is product of many many people’s work, effort, interest. We’ve got ornaments
from thousands of people. We have food prepared
by the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe. We have
Forest Service volunteers and family members that
are coming to watch. There has been field work
certainly to find the tree. We have lots of crane operators nothing would happen without
the cranes and the trucks. It’s just a lot of people
come together and it’s really great to see everybody coming
together and having a great
time. You know today is
just fantastic! I’m so excited! The crane crew prepares for the cutting.
The cranes are present to ensure that the tree doesn’t
fall when it’s cut. A technician secures heavy
straps at specific links along the
tree. Adam Geiss of North
Star Aerial films his work. ? ? ? ? The crowd begins to arrive.
Among them Carol Kloehn of the
Bug O Nay Ge Shig School. It’s so good to be here,
seeing the tree. But to see the display in the tent of the
ornaments knowing that our children made a thousand ornaments
and they are going to
Washington DC. It’s a full circle to
see the beginning knowing that the tree was coming
from the Chippewa National
Forest and for our children to make
those ornaments and then see them on the little tree
at the tree cutting ceremony it really brings it all together.
The children were bringing the 4th, 5th
and 6th graders. The drum and
dance group as well as
the royalty will be here. And they too can experience
the beginning of the journey to Washington DC. Everything we’ve talked about
all this time it’s all happening.
WIthout the trucks and the cranes and the wrappers and the nothing would happen.
It is the big day. Today is the
big day! It’s very exciting to finally
have this day circled on the calendar and finally be here.
I’m excited to see the bigger picture of people that
are interested in the Forest
Service and seeing how this tree impacts
everybody else and how they
have been anticipating it. And they finallyPPget to see it. We’re at thisppmoment now and theirs is yet to come.
So that will be fun. With the crane straps secured
the cutting team gathers for a safety briefing.
Maybe I’ll start with you. guys and you can talk about
your rigging here and how you How do you see this going once
the sawing operation is under
way? First things first we will
go up and hook up the top strap. We are going
to get it tight. James Scheff of Scheff Logging
has been chosen to cut the 2014 US Capitol Christmas
Tree. I was chosen to be
logger of the year, earlier this year.
What does it take to become logger of the
year? Lots of hard work.
Lots of hard work. Pretty proud of it.
It’s a big deal. That’s awesome. He has been at it for many,
many years. He can handle it. He’s been doing it for 39 years.
I’ve been doing it for a long time and you get to know
the employees and the people
you work with very well.
They’re part of the family. For us three brothers we’d like to
thank our crew. We’ve got a
great crew. Dedicated, hard working
that’s a big plus. Without employees you ain’t nobody.
So we have a wonderful crew. A huge crew and very thankful
for. Wish they could all be here but a lot of them are working.
Yeah somebody’s got stay and
work. Started it 37 years ago. It’s a wonderful
experience to be associated with it I guess.
Yeah, It’s a great day! The chainsaws are tested chain saws running Media from around the state
conducts interviews. Local groups from our
region participate lending a hand as the crowd grows. indistinct talking in
background Truck driver Elwood Higdem
takes a moment to relay
the funny story to Jim. I thought about it a little bit..
I was in Texas I think when he called me
in April and he said: You want to haul a
Christmas Tree? I said Tom
it’s April. Tom said no no no through to
Washington to the Capitol like you
did in ’92. I said oh that’s different. I’m Elwood Higdem
and I’m going to be driving your Christmas tree to
Washington DC to the Capitol. Will be there the
21st of November. I started in ’59 but I
haven’t drove steady. I’ve been with Wille since ’91.
Well it feels good that they would ask me. I’ve had a lotPPof people wondering how I gotppthe job. I’m honored to do this for the 50th anniversary
and it’s special. to everybody here. Different
things change when your driving something like this
and you got to be careful. You can’t just be speeding,
we’re not in a race track. But you still got to get going down the road. ppRight now in my head I can’t really tell you what problems
I’ll have because there is a new problem everytime you
take a load like this. A lot of people are depending
on me to get it there. And we’ll get it
there no problem. It’s been exciting just to meet so many different
people from around the country. People that I would
of never had any contact for anything else if we
hadn’t done something like
this. It’s brought us into a
lot of different areas. I know the communities in the
northern Minnesota area have
really gathered around. There is a lot of
excitement in some of the
schools. And people look at the
trucking industry a little different I think. Cause a lot of times PPin the trucking industry youppjust get a black eye, people hear about
accidents and what not. So this kind of shows the good
things. Minnesota politicians take a moment to meet
with the logger of year. Get ‘er done. He is the logger
of the year and this is his Mom! Nice to meet you. A young drum and dance group of the Leech Lake Nation
with some familiar faces prepares for the
cutting ceremony and Larry Aitken’s spiritual blessing.
How are you doing today? Good. Are you excited
for the ceremony? Look it’s a baby helicopter. It’s a drone. Oh my gosh. What is it doing? Taking pictures. Are we in the way here. . I’m going to give a little
overview of how the ceremony will
proceed. We will have a
blessing from Larry Aitken. When we light these fires We will live together in
harmony, and equal in balance. And if we cannot light the 8th fire the
7th generation will end all nations. I’m hoping that we will be here to
light the 8th fire so we can live together and honor
each other. The crowd is moved by the spiritual
leader’s wise words. Ojibwe drumming and singing Ojibwe drumming and singing Ojibwe drumming and singing Mary Laplant looks on
as Jim Scheff prepares for the cutting of the
2014 US Capitol Christmas Tree. Hey guys we need
to cameras to be set off to the side so
that the public can see. Jim and his brothers perform
a final safety check. Rope wranglers prepare
to handle the tree as it is cut. As well
as keep the lines at a safe distance from the
saw. chainsaw starting up chainsaw running chainsaw running chainsaw running chainsaw running chainsaw revving chainsaw revving chainsaw revving chainsaw revving sawing the tree sawing the tree sawing the tree sawing the tree sawing the tree sawing the tree sawing the tree sawing the tree sawing the tree The saw binds in the thick trunk of the white spruce. sawing the tree sawing the tree sawing the tree sawing the tree sawing the tree The cutting of this tree is
unusual. Where the goal is not to fell
the tree. indistinct talking indistinct talking Wedges are secured to provide space
for the chainsaws bar. hammering hammering hammering hammering chainsaw running sawing the tree sawing the tree sawing the tree Tree wrangles stand by at the ready. More wedges help with the sawing as the massive tree
presses down. hammering and chainsaw
revving sawing the tree sawing the tree sawing the tree sawing the tree crowd ooh!
whistling and cheering applause and crowd cheering Then something I’ve never
witnessed The tree is cut but doesn’t
fall…. it floats. ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? cheering and applause crowd talking ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? The straps fasten to the tree earlier
are secured to the crane for position over the truck. crowd chattering crowd chattering crowd chattering crowd chattering tree branch snapping crowd chattering crowd chattering crowd chattering crowd chattering crowd chattering crowd chattering crowd chattering crowd chattering crowd chattering crowd chattering crowd chattering crowd chattering crowd chattering crowd chattering crowd chattering crowd chattering crowd chattering crowd chattering The crowd celebrates and opportunities for photo ops
abound. crowd chattering crowd chattering That is pretty much the end of what there
is to see. Obviously they do
eventually have to move the tree a bit more.
But we have to start getting some kids and their
buses back to school. So we do need the
entire crowd to now go back to the original roped in
area. and our staff is going to start
bringing that rope with you. But I do need everybody behind the rope.
Did you get everything you need? Well, it’s pretty exciting day I had no idea this would
be so much fun and festive. You know. And what’s so
powerful for us on the forest is that everytime
we see the news and we look at the Capitol it’s Minnesota.
Yeah! All the ornaments all the trees.
There can be some tree stands that are going to be coming PPyour way that are made be appscout in Bemidji. No kidding. Tree skirts
that are handmade throughout
the state. that say Minnesota on them.
Good stuff. So I’ll be with the crew that’s actuallyppdelivering the companion tree. to the office to. Alright, well good
I’ll look forward to seeing
you when you get there.
Your name again is? Mike
Theune. Okay I’ll remember that Mike. We’ll look
forward to seeing you in
Washington. Have fun.
Take good care of our tree. Will do. chainsaw running chainsaw running chainsaw running The thick base of the truck
of the tree is removed. It
will be cut into thin sections
referred to as tree cookies. These tree cookies
will be shared with people and groups
along the trees journey to Washington DC. drone buzzing drone buzzing drone buzzing The next day the priority is to
pull in the trees branches. Making it’s diameter narrow
enough to fit down the cramped woods
road. indistinct conversations indistinct conversations Mary surveys the progress.
Looking good. Cranking sound from tighting
of straps Cranking sound from tighting
of straps indistinct conversations The team prepares to
cut the tree cookies. chainsaw running chainsaw running chainsaw running chainsaw running chainsaw running chainsaw running The tree must remain hydrated and
living during it’s long journey with many stops to Washington
DC. A specially designed
water bladder has been fitted over the
cut base of the tree. Along with water the tree is also given a powder
very similar to that of which flowers are given
to keep them alive. Eyeball this seam… For what? For water leaks,
top and bottom. It’s leaking on the bottom. With a solution to the water
leak found. The tree now prepares to leave
the Chippewa National Forest. ? ? A convey escorts Wille Transport truck as it
leaves the cutting site. It is a tight squeeze but Elwood expertly maneuvers the truck down the
narrow woods road. ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? A tight 90 degree corner requires a front end
loader lift the trailer around the
turn. At last the tree is on it’s way to
Bemidji State University. Where it will go to the
John Glas Fieldhouse for wrapping. The tree arrives at Bemidji
State University’s John Glas
Fieldhouse. Elwood expertly backs the
tree into the field house. ? ? ? ? Students help wrap the tree for it’s long journey
to Washington DC. I got involved through the
criminal justice program. The club got together and
decided we wanted to help out. It feels really good and everybody
is going to really enjoy the
tree. The wrapping process
will take several days. ? ? ? ? Mary and Ann put some
finishing touches on the tree
display. ? ? ? ? ? ? With the wrapping process
complete Elwood takes the tree out of
the John Glas Fieldhouse. The team prepares to take the truck on a test run
to Itasca State Park. There the tree will get a drink
from the headwaters of the Mississippi
before it’s journey to Washington DC. ? ? ? ? See you later Scott. After a quick test run
to Itasca State Park. the tree makes it’s first
official stop in Bemidji, MN. Come on up.
Who am I talking to? Logan Monroe. Logan Monroe. Okay be
close to the microphone and let’s here from you Logan. We wrote this song for the tree for giving it’s life. And we’re honoring
it’s life that it gave. And we’re not singing
only for our tree but for ourselves and all the people here today.
Thank you. singing in Ojibwe singing in Ojibwe ?We honor, respect and promise
we will ? ?Thank you ? ?from our home to Capitol Hill ? drumming and singing in Ojibwe drumming and singing in Ojibwe drumming and singing in Ojibwe drumming and singing in Ojibwe drumming and singing in Ojibwe drumming and singing in Ojibwe drumming and singing in Ojibwe drumming and singing in Ojibwe ?from our home to Capitol Hill ? ?We honor, respect and promise
we will ? ?thank you ? ?from our home to Capitol Hill ? drumming and singing in Ojibwe drumming and singing in Ojibwe drumming and singing in Ojibwe Welcome to the 2014 Tree to DC:
National Christmas Tree sendoff celebration. I’m Bemidji
Mayor Rita Albrecht I think it’s a beautiful day in the northwoods.
Would you agree? Applause Billy Nelson is an Eagle Scout candidate and he
and his troops have been working on a special project as
part of the Christmas tree
project. Let’s give him a hand. So Billy can you tell us what do you have in your hands there? You mightPPhave to speak into the mic forppeveryone to hear you.
This is the Christmas tree stand for one of the 12 Christmas companion trees that
we built the stands for. The companion trees are going
to be going to the 2 Minnesota Senators. Eight are
going to be going to Minnesota Representatives and
one is going to be going to the head of the
Forest Service and then the head of the
Department of Agriculture. drumming and singing in Ojibwe ?We honor and respect and
promise we will ? ?Thank you ? ?From our home to Capitol Hill ? drumming and singing in Ojibwe Applause Applause Applause The time has come for the tree to leave Bemidji, MN. Elwood and his wife prepare
the truck for the journey. The law enforcement officers of the convoy help direct
traffic. truck horn honking The crowd waves and the tree a gift to
Washington DC from Minnesota
begins it’s long journey. Truck driving by Truck driving by Truck driving by Truck driving by Truck driving by truck horn honking Truck driving by ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?

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