Ear to the ground:
“There’s going to be a serious drop in productivity in males ages 17 - 25.”
– Local observation on the legalization of pot in Colorado

Greener than ever
When it comes to greenery, Colorado has another claim to fame besides the newly passed pot amendment: the Capitol Christmas tree. The stately 75-foot Engelman spruce was harvested from the White River National Forest near Glenwood Springs last Saturday and has officially begun its journey to D.C.

Fortunately, local residents will have a chance to ogle the evergreen as it takes a meandering route through the Centennial State. The tree will be making a guest appearance in downtown Durango, at 8th and Main, from 5 - 7 p.m. Fri., Nov. 9. The great needled one will arrive via police escort on a custom Mack truck, driven by none other than former U.S. Sen. Ben Nighthorse Campbell. Free hot chocolate, kids activities, a Choral Society performance and flowing Steamworks’ Spruce Goose Ale will ensue. Toys for Tots also will be on hand, accepting donations of toys, and local organizers will be gathering contributions of coats and nonperishable foods.

Coming off a grueling tour of the Western Slope, the tree will arrive via Cortez, leave Durango and travel to Pagosa Springs before hanging a lewie and heading up the Front Range and off to points east.

The tradition of the Capitol Christmas Tree, or “The People’s Tree,” began in 1964 when House Speaker John W. McCormack, D-Mass., placed a live tree on the Capitol lawn. This tree lived three years before succumbing to wind and root damage.

In 1970, the Capitol Architect asked the U.S. Forest Service to provide this tree. Since then, a different national forest is chosen each year to provide a tree. This year marks the third time Colorado has provided the Capitol Christmas Tree. In 1990, it was provided by the Routt National Forest, and in 2000 by the Pike National Forest. Last year’s tree, a Sierra white fir, hailed from the Stanislaus Forest in California.

In all, the road trip will take 23 days, during which time tree handlers will tout the message of sustainable forestry as well as the Forest Restoration Challenge, a fund-raiser to help areas in Colorado impacted by this year’s wildfires. To donate, text (303) 502-5858.

No word on who will be watering the root ball to make sure the needles don’t fall off before the lighting ceremony in early December.