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News Release

With Great Enthusiasm, the Payette National Forest is Pleased to Announce the Location of the 2016 U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree

WASHINGTON, OCTOBER 31, 2016 AT 11:45 AM EDT - The 80 foot Engelmann spruce that will travel to Washington D.C. and be placed on the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol is located at the Little Ski Hill, just west of McCall, Idaho. 

While many people may not know it, the Little Ski Hill is partly located on the Payette National Forest.  Since 1937, the Little Ski Hill has been operating under a Special Use Permit from the Forest.  For the past 79 years and into the foreseeable future, the Payette National Forest and the Payette Lakes Ski Club have had a great relationship that benefits the public by providing a winter recreation opportunity.  Downhill and cross-country skiing have long been a mainstay of the McCall economy and helped to produce winter Olympic athletes who all spent numerous hours at the Little Ski Hill in their youth.

“The Payette Lakes Ski Club and the Little Ski Hill are very excited and honored that the 2016 U.S. Capitol Christmas tree will come from our ski area,” said Mike Lamm, President of the Payette Lakes Ski Club.  “This is just one more special event that will be a part of the Little Ski Hill’s great history.”  

The Payette National Forest and the Little Ski Hill will host a “tree cutting” event on Wednesday, November 2nd from 11am to noon that will be open to public to attend.  KTVB Channel 7, who is a sponsor of the project, will broadcast the event live from the Little Ski Hill as well.  Members of the public that would like to attend the event are encouraged to arrive early in order to help avoid traffic congestion along highway 55.

“The Little Ski Hill is an important part of the McCall community, and now the 2016 U.S. Capitol Christmas tree will be part of the Little Ski Hill’s legacy,” said Keith Lannom, Payette National Forest Supervisor.  “Wednesday will be a very exciting day for the Little Ski Hill, McCall, and the Payette National Forest as our “Idaho Mountain Gem” will start its journey to Washington D.C.”

This tree and 3 others were identified as final candidates for the Christmas tree in July of this year.  The requirements for the Christmas tree are that it must be 65 to 85 feet tall, have full branches around the entire tree, be of a rich green color and be cylindrical in shape – generally, it must look like a fantastic Christmas tree.  Engelmann spruce is a native tree species the Payette National Forest.

“After a year of planning and preparation, we are excited to start the delivery of the 2016 U.S. Capitol Christmas tree to Washington D.C.,” added Lannom.  Two Payette employees, Jared Schuster and Chris Niccoli will cut the tree using a crosscut saw to honor the traditional skills used in Wilderness areas.

The Payette National Forest, along with the City of McCall and the McCall Area Chamber of Commerce will kick-off the in-state and cross-county tour of the U.S. Capitol Christmas tree on November 5 with the McCall Christmas tree lighting and celebration event in downtown McCall from 5 to 7pm.  Please join us to celebrate “An Idaho Mountain Gem” that is a gift from all of the state of Idaho

U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree Cutting Event

WHAT: The 2016 U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree will be cut and loaded onto a truck in preparation for its trip to the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol.  The event is open to the public.

WHEN: Wednesday, November 2, 2016, at 11a.m. to noon.

WHERE: Payette Lakes Ski Club (The Little Ski Hill), 3 miles north of McCall, Idaho on state highway 55.

  • The lodge parking lot will be used as a viewing area for members of the public.
National Forest, National Grassland, or other National Area:

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