Last Thursday, the U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree made a short whistle stop visit in Truth or Consequences–only one of 28 between Red River, NM, where the tree was cut off the Carson National Forest on November 6, to Washington, D.C., where the tree will be raised on the west lawn of the U.S. Capitol.

A Christmas tree has been placed on the U.S.Capitol lawn since 1964, but the tree has come from New Mexico only three times in those 55 years.That made it all the more exciting to learn T-or-C was identified as a stop.

The tree arrived for its one-hour visit with flair! The 104-foot long Kenworth truck was escorted by State, Sheriff, and T-or-C emergency vehicles, along with Smokey Bear on the Black Range Ranger District’s fire engine, and Santa Claus in a 1927 Dodge Brothers truck, the oldest vehicle in the Forest Service’s fleet. The tree was met by the cheers of hundreds of citizens who had gathered to welcome it.

The Enchantment of New Mexico was proudly displayed on the Kenworth truck and 11,000+ ornaments made by children from around the state will decorate the tree. Huge banners hung from the sides of the truck where most people eagerly added their signatures to the hundreds already there. Numerous groups and organizations had tables for children to make ornaments, learn about their public lands, leave canned goods for people in need, or purchase snacks to help youth groups.

While the whistle stop was brief, it took months of coordination. Sincere thanks go to Sierra County Commissioners, Sierra County Sheriff’s Department, New Mexico State Police, cities of T-or-C, Williamsburg and Elephant Butte, Sierra Soil and Water Conservation District, Caballo Conservation District, Jornada RC&D Council, The Club, AppleTree EducationalCenter, Hot Springs High School, T-or-C Middle School, T-or-C Elementary School, Ecology Action, Sierra County 4-H, Smokey Bear, and Santa Claus for making this all happen.

Well done Sierra County and New Mexico for helping deliver Enchantment to the U.S.Capitol!

s/Michael Hutchins

Black Range District Ranger



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