Capitol Christmas tree begins trek from Kootenai to Washington
By Moosetrack Megan

Posted: November 11, 2017

 A local sawyer has been selected to cut the 2017 U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree. Kootenai Forest Supervisor recently selected Pete Tallmadge of Troy, Montana with the honor of cutting the Capitol Christmas Tree.

Pete Tallmadge is a life-long resident of northwest Montana. He is a 4th generation Montanan and a 3rd generation logger who works with Tallmadge Logging, which started operation in the 1960’s by his father, Stan Tallmadge. Pete and his wife Pam are the parents of five children and one grandchild.

His company has done a lot of roadbuilding for timber access and 99 percent of all the logging work has been in Lincoln County. Pete and his family have a life-long history in northwest Montana and both his grandfather and uncle were sawyers and now his son, Adam is in the business. “What loggers look like will keep changing, but we would like to be part of the logging industry for future generations in northwest Montana,” said Tallmadge.

When asked about cutting the 2107 Capitol Christmas tree Tallmadge responded, “I’m honored, privileged and a little anxious about the event, but mostly happy that my kids and grandkids will be able to remember that I was a sawyer and that they have a strong family history of working in the timber industry in northwest Montana.”

The tree, which Pete will cut, is a 79 ft. tall Engelmann Spruce that is located on the Three Rivers Ranger District in Troy, Montana. It will be cut on Wednesday, November 8 and drone footage of the tree cutting will be on Facebook and also provided to media outlets.

The tree will then be prepped for the almost 3,000-mile trip, which includes a series of community celebrations and culminates with the official tree lighting in early December. After arriving in Washington, D.C. the tree lighting will occur in early December as determined by the Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives.

“We are pleased that a local sawyer agreed to cut the 2017 Capitol Christmas tree,” said Kootenai Forest Supervisor Christopher Savage. “Mr. Tallmadge comes well recommended and has decades of wood-working experience.”

For tour information, event details, news and updates, and to track the tree cross-country, visit or

This is the second U.S. Capitol Christmas tree to come from the Kootenai National Forest. The Forest Service has partnered with nonprofit Choose outdoors on the Capitol Christmas tree.


Here’s the tree’s projected journey:

Monday, Nov. 13: 
Eureka, MT (11:00 a.m. at Eureka Town Hall, 11 Dewey Avenue)
Whitefish, MT (2:30 pm -Don K Whitefish Dealership, 6219 Highway 93 South)

Tuesday, Nov. 14:
Libby, MT (9:00 a.m. at Libby High School,150 Education Way)
Troy, MT (11:30 a.m. location TBD)
Trout Creek, MT (3:30 pm at 11 Park Street)

Wednesday, Nov. 15:
Thompson Falls, MT (10:00 a.m. at 809 Main Street)
Missoula, MT (6:00 p.m. at Southgate Mall, 2901 Brooks St.)

Thursday, Nov. 16:
Helena, MT (11:00 a.m. at 1301 E 6th Ave between Montana Ave & Roberts Street)
Great Falls, MT (6:00 p.m. Lewis & Clark National Historic Trail Interpretive Center, 4201 Giant Springs Road)

Friday, Nov. 17:
Harlem (Fort Belknap), MT (11:00 a.m. at Tourism Office, 143 Assiniboine Avenue)
Glasgow, MT (3:00 p.m. at Valley Event Center, 54141 Highway #2)
Saturday, Nov. 18:
Glendive, MT (8:00 a.m. at Albertson’s parking lot, 307 Harmon Street)
Dickinson, ND (10:30 a.m. between 1st and Villard, Downtown Dickinson)

Sunday, Nov 19:
Grand Forks, ND (9:00 a.m. at 1 S 3rd Street)
Browns Valley, MN (1:30 p.m., location TBD)

Monday, Nov 20: Kansas City, MO (3:00 p.m. at MHC Kenworth, 1524 N Corrington Avenue)

Tuesday, Nov. 21Springfield, MO (4:00 p.m. at Bass Pro Shops Base Camp, 500 E Kearney Street)

Wednesday, Nov. 22
Poplar Bluff, MO (11:00 a.m. at Menards Parking Lot, 3105 Oak Grove Road)
Paducah, KY (5:30 p.m. at Noble Park, 2801 Park Avenue)

Sunday, Nov. 26: Joint Base Andrews (2:00 p.m. on base for servicemen and women)

Monday, Nov. 27: Deliver to West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol