Choose Outdoors, a nonprofit organization, has pledged to raise $25,000 for wildfire cleanup efforts in Colorado. They plan to do this by using the annual tour of the U.S. Capitol Christmas tree to promote their work. Choose Outdoors will partner with the Forest Service to deliver the 2012 tree, which is set to be cut this week from the White River National Forest near Meeker, Colo.
The tree, a 73-foot Englemann spruce, will make a three-week tour across the United States with stops in Colorado, New Mexico, Texas, Oklahoma, Missouri, Tennessee, Georgia, North Carolina, Virginia, Pennsylvania and Maryland before being delivered to the Capitol grounds Nov. 26.
Choose Outdoors, which promotes outdoor recreation on public lands, created the Forest Restoration Challenge Fund to help fund restoration of vegetation, stream banks and trees in areas of Colorado damaged by the Waldo Canyon fire near Colorado Springs and the High Park fire near Fort Collins earlier this year.
"The High Park and Waldo Canyon Fires were two of the biggest wildfires in Colorado history, and we welcome Choose Outdoors' support of the restoration of the forests that were impacted by those fires," Pike and San Isabel National Forests Supervisor Jerri Marr said in a statement posted to capitolchristmastree2012.org. "We are thrilled that a Colorado forest is providing a gift to the nation and hope that it will assist in educating the country about forest health and restoration."