Governor’s Holiday Tree Cut Down in Pine County
Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) staff, with help from the Minnesota Conservation Corps, harvested a 44-foot balsam fir from the Nemadji State Forest Friday that will grace the Governor’s official residence on St. Paul’s Summit Avenue for the holiday season.
The Nemadji State Forest is near the town of Nickerson in Pine County.
The hunt for the Christmas tree begins in early fall when DNR foresters scout for potential candidates in Minnesota’s network of 58 state forests.
“Finding a perfect specimen growing in the wild is not an easy task,” according to Tim Brault, a DNR forestry technician.
The preferred tree is a gradually tapering balsam fir with between 30-35 feet of usable trunk, symmetrical branching, and no noticeable gaps in the branches. The tree must be free of needle rust, a fungus that affects the tree’s appearance and sometimes can be prevalent. Foresters also look for a back-up tree.
For the past 12 years, Brault and Art Widerstrom, a DNR forester, have joined forces to locate, harvest, haul, and set up a tree. Widerstrom took on this annual project 23 years ago and has maintained the tradition.
DNR staff usually harvests the tree the week before Thanksgiving. Once the tree is felled, it is loaded on a trailer, bound in rope, and tarp-covered for its journey to St. Paul. Foresters then deliver the tree to the Governor’s residence for decoration on the Monday before Thanksgiving. When the holiday season ends, the tree is removed, chipped, and recycled.
This year a crew is scheduled to begin setting up the tree at the Governor’s residence, 1006 Summit Ave., St. Paul, about 9:30 a.m. on Monday, Nov. 23.
(From Minnesota Department of Natural Resources)