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Search for state Christmas tree underway

The search has begun for Michigan’s Capitol Christmas tree.

Each year, the Michigan Department of Technology, Management and Budget is tasked with the search and harvest of the state tree and once again asks for the public’s assistance in spotting the perfect conifer.

Over the last 39 years, trees have come from locations across the state — from backyards to public land near highways and forests. Last year’s 60-foot spruce was donated by Onaway resident Vic Ruppert and his family in honor of his late wife Shirley Ruppert.

It marked two straight years that a Lower Peninsula tree was picked. The 2022 tree was a 63-foot spruce harvested from St. Johns.

More often, however, the tree comes from the Upper Peninsula. In 2021, a 63-foot spruce was donated by Carla Fletcher and her family from Marenisco. To date, 24 state trees have come from the U.P. since the program began in 1987.

Four trees have been harvested in Dickinson County, including a 61-foot blue spruce donated in 2019 by Jordan and Sarah Wolfenberg of Iron Mountain. Two past trees have come from Kingsford, and one from Sagola Township.

To be considered, trees need to meet the following criteria:

— Type: Spruce or fir.

— Size: At least 60-feet tall with a maximum crown of 24 feet and maximum trunk diameter of 30 inches.

— Access: Easy access to the road, with no interference from wires.

— Cost: Available at no cost.

DTMB works with the Michigan Association of Timbermen and the Great Lakes Timber Professionals Association to bring the tree to Lansing, usually in late October. Denny Olson of Breitung Township, a member of the Michigan Association of Timbermen and the GLPTA, has been involved with about 20 of the trees chosen for the state Capitol.

Traditionally, the tree reigns over downtown Lansing’s holiday festivities, mounted on the east lawn of the Capitol building. This year’s tree journey will culminate with a lighting ceremony Friday, Nov. 22, at the 40th Annual Silver Bells in the City celebration.

“Each year, our team looks forward to selecting the state Christmas tree, which becomes a destination for friends and families during the holiday season,” said DTMB Director Michelle Lange. “We have to start that process early to make sure everything is in place for Silver Bells in the City.”

The deadline for tree nominations is Monday, Aug. 19. Individuals who would like to nominate a tree are asked to email their name, telephone number, a photograph of the tree, and information about its size and location to ChristmasTree@michigan.gov. Tree nominations can also be mailed to the address below.

Christmas Tree Search

Michigan Department of Technology, Management & Budget

Building Operations Division

P.O. Box 30026

Lansing, MI 48909

— Iron Mountain Daily News

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