ROSEVILLE, Minn., Oct. 27, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Minnesota Trucking Association (MTA) is playing a key role in helping deliver the 2014 U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree. For the past 50 years, a beautiful tree has appeared on the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. during the holiday season. MTA is one of dozens of partners working with The U.S. Forest Service, Choose Outdoors and the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe to bring this special gift from Minnesota to Washington, D.C. for the 2014 season.
The tree will be cut during a public ceremony on October 29 and will then be moved to Bemidji State University, where it will be prepared for the nearly 2,000-mile cross-country expedition. With drivers from Minnesota-based Wille Transport, the tree – a whopping 80-foot plus white spruce– will leave the Chippewa National Forest in a donated 2015 Kenworth truck, driven by Elwood Higdem from Clearbrook, MN, followed by a caravan of caretakers for the journey to the U.S. Capitol.
More than 30 celebrations are being planned during the tour, culminating with the official tree lighting in early December. The Minnesota Christmas Tree Growers Association is providing seventy companion trees to decorate the inside of the U.S. Capitol building and other sites throughout Washington, D.C., and they will be transported in a van truck driven by Ken Lundgren from Deer River, MN. The trees will be accompanied by 10,000 ornaments created by children and others from Minnesota communities representing the "Land of 10,000 Lakes."
MTA is delighted to partake in such a wonderful tradition. MTA President John Hausladen has been working closely with Choose Outdoors and assisting in the logistical planning of hauling an 80-foot plus tree to America's capitol. "This is a great opportunity to show people how essential the trucking industry is. Hauling this tree is just one example of what trucking does for America."
Associated costs are paid for in part by the U.S. Forest Service, while costs for the tree's transportation and special events are covered by in-kind services, donations and overall support both locally and nationwide. MTA has donated $5,000 to help cover the costs of the tree's transport and is also contributing to the development of a school curriculum focused on the Capitol Christmas Tree.
With the help of MTA member PeopleNet, students will be able to track the tree in real time. The curriculum was developed for ages elementary through high school, and will include lessons on the history of the Christmas tree, the importance of the trucking industry and information on Minnesota's tree industry.
"This year's tour is only possible with the help of strong community partnerships throughout Minnesota and beyond state lines," said Bruce Ward, founder of Choose Outdoors, the nonprofit partner of the Forest Service. "We're grateful for the time and resources the Minnesota Trucking Association is providing to make this the best tour to date."
The Minnesota Trucking Association (MTA) is a non-profit trade association representing 700 member-trucking companies and allied firms from across the state. Its mission is to serve as the voice for a safe and successful Minnesota trucking industry. It does so by developing innovative and research-based policies that promote highway safety, educating policymakers and the public about the essential role that trucking plays in the economy, and promoting responsible policies that advance the trucking industry's environmental goals.
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SOURCE Minnesota Trucking Association