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Track the 2017 National Tree

Coming our way from Kootenai National Forest, Montana
     Christmas is coming to our nation’s capitol.
     In a 47-year tradition, the Christmas tree that shines throughout December on the lawn of the U.S. Capitol is cut in one of the nation’s states.
     This year’s Capitol Christmas Tree, a whopping 79-foot Engelmann spruce, was cut in Montana’s Kootenai National Forest — where forest fires raged earlier this year — on November 8. It’s the second Capitol Tree from Kootenai.
     Hauling the tree on a specially designed trailer is a T680 Advantage truck wrapped in eye-catching graphics, including the 2017 U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree, the Kootenai National Forest seal and the motto Big Sky. Big Tree. Big Journey. Whitewood Transport of Billings is the carrier. “You can count on Whitewood Transport to deliver this special gift to the nation safely,” said owner Mike Wilson.
     Followed by a caravan of caretakers, the Kootenai tree makes 15 celebratory stops on its 3,000-mile journey, visiting 12 towns in Montana, two in North Dakota, one in Minnesota, three in Missouri and one in Kentucky before arriving at Joint Base Andrews, here in Maryland.
     Early November 27, it reaches the Capitol, where it is strung with tens of thousands of lights and bedecked with 10,000 ornaments made by Montanans, from school children to artists.
     On Dec. 6 at 5pm, House Speaker Paul Ryan turns on the lights.
Follow its daily progress at