ANCHORAGE, Oct. 7, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- For more than 50 years, a tree has graced the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol for the holiday season. The Chugach National Forest in partnership with nonprofit Choose Outdoors will bring this special gift from Alaska to Washington, D.C. for the 2015 season with the help of Lynden Transport and its nationally recognized driver John Schank. This is the first time the U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree will come from Alaska.
The tree will be cut on Oct. 27 and begin its journey with a community celebration in Seward, Alaska before it is prepared for the 4,000-mile expedition by land and sea. With great fanfare, driver John Schank will leave the Chugach National Forest with the tree followed by a caravan of caretakers for the journey to the U.S. Capitol. Two community celebrations will take place in Anchorage at Cabela's on Oct. 30 and Trick or Treat Street on Oct. 31.
The tree will then be loaded onto a Totem Ocean Trailer Express (TOTE) ship for the journey to Seattle. The Seattle celebration and tour kickoff will take place at the Museum of History and Industry (MOHAI) on Sat., Nov. 7. Schank will drive the tree to the event before heading east on the first leg of the Lower 48 tour. Community celebrations are being planned along the way, culminating with the official tree lighting in early December.
"There is no one better to transport this precious cargo – the People's Tree – than our veteran driver John Schank," says Lynden Transport President Paul Grimaldi. "Lynden is an Alaska-based company and our roots run deep in the state. We are proud to be entrusted with the delivery of the national Christmas tree and delighted to support the U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree tour which provides communities with the opportunity to celebrate the spirit of the season. John will do a great job – just as he does every day he drives for Lynden."
Schank was recognized as the 2014 Driver of the Year by the Alaska Trucking Association (ATA) and received a letter of commendation from former Alaska Governor Sean Parnell for 37 years of accident-free driving over the treacherous Dalton Highway linking Fairbanks to Prudhoe Bay, Alaska. Schank has logged 5 million miles on the highway – more than any other driver in history.
Lynden Transport is a major sponsor of the project along with in-kind services, donations and overall support both locally and nationwide from Shell Oil, Alaska Airlines, Skybitz, Alaska Railroad, Alaska Crane, Granite Construction Company, ReThink Wood, Truckload Carriers Association, TOTE Maritime Alaska, Hale Trailer, Kenworth Truck Company and others.
"This historic journey is only possible with the help of strong community partnerships throughout Alaska and beyond state lines," said Bruce Ward, founder of Choose Outdoors. "We're grateful for the time and resources Lynden Transport is providing to help make this the best tour to date."
For related news, events and tour information, and to track the tree cross-country, visit www.capitolchristmastree.com and on Facebook @ USCapitolChristmasTree.
The Lynden family of companies' combined capabilities include shipping to Alaska, truckload and less-than-truckload transportation, barge service to Hawaii and Alaska, charter barges, worldwide air and ocean forwarding, third-party logistics, trade show shipping, intermodal bulk chemical hauls, scheduled and chartered Hercules L-382 cargo aircraft and multi-modal logistics. Lynden companies are repeat winners in the annual Quest for Quality awards presented by Logistics Management magazine. Lynden Transport and Lynden International were both voted No. 1 by shippers in the 2015 Quest for Quality Awards.
About Chugach National Forest
Established in 1907, the Chugach National Forest is the northernmost national forest. The Forest's 5.4 million acres form a great arc around Prince William Sound and the Gulf of Alaska that stretches more than 200 miles from the Kenai Peninsula past the remote and wild Copper River Delta. Just 50 miles south of Anchorage, the Chugach National Forest serves as the backyard to more than half of Alaska's population. The Forest's 48,000 acres of lakes and 18,000 miles of streams produce more than 66 million salmon a year and host the largest recreation fisheries for Chinook, Sockeye and Coho salmon, and rainbow trout in the state. For more information, visit www.fs.usda.gov/chugach.
About the U.S. Forest Service
The mission of the U.S. Forest Service is to sustain the health, diversity and productivity of the nation's forests and grasslands to meet the needs of present and future generations. The agency manages 193 million acres of public land; provides assistance to state and private landowners; and maintains the largest forestry research organization in the world. Public lands the Forest Service manages contribute more than $13 billion to the economy each year through visitor spending alone. Those same lands provide 20 percent of the nation's clean water supply, a value estimated at $7.2 billion per year. For more information, see www.fs.fed.us.
About Choose Outdoors:
Choose Outdoors is a coalition for outdoor recreation comprised of people and organizations who are passionate about outdoor recreation, support public lands, waters, and the agencies charged with their care. www.chooseoutdoors.org.