U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree harvested near McCall

Jim Duthie tells us what's next for the tree.

MCCALL - Christmas is still over seven weeks away, and while it may be a little early to get your tree, the U.S. Capitol Tree is about to make its long journey to Washington, D.C.

The 80-foot Engelmann spruce was cut down Wednesday morning at the Little Ski Hill, just west of McCall on Idaho 55.

It will spend a couple weeks traveling around Idaho, before making the 3,000 mile journey to the nation's capital, where it will sit on the west lawn of the U.S. Capitol Building.

Payette National Forest workers used a traditional crosscut saw, as a way of honoring the traditional logging skills and tools used in this region.

It is also a process that officials say has never been used before to cut down previous national trees.

"We just thought it would be kinda cool because we've never heard of anyone else doing it," said Jared Schuster, with the Payette National Forest. "The other thing is, it's gonna be quiet. We won't have that chainsaw noise, and it's going to be slow, so we have a little more safety on our side."

After it is cut down, the tree will be carefully prepared for its cross-country journey. It will make 15 stops around the state before leaving for Washington, D.C. on Nov. 15.

Once it is set up on the lawn of the Capitol, it will be decorated with thousands of ornaments created by Idahoans. It will be officially lit on Dec. 6.

The public was invited to Wednesday's tree-cutting ceremony.

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