Senator Mark Udall and 2012 US Capitol Christmas Tree

Senator Mark Udall Teams up with US Forest Service and Choose Outdoors to Promote 2012 US Capitol Christmas Tree, highlighting forest health and "Celebrating the Great Outdoors" themes.

The following article to the people of Colorado provided courtesy of Senator Mark Udall:

We are continually blessed to live in a state with a wide variety of rich and abundant natural resources. These resources are exactly why so many people have decided to live, work and play here. One of our most important and visible natural resources is our forests.

Colorado's forests offer more than just a postcard setting for outdoor recreation. They provide a vital supply of clean drinking water to over 60 million Americans. They give our state's diverse wildlife a home while creating countless well-paying jobs for many Coloradans.

This year, Colorado's forests will give a Christmas gift to the nation when we send one large, pristine tree to Washington, D.C., as the 2012 U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree. The tree will be selected from Colorado's White River National Forest, outside of Meeker, and transported to Washington, D.C., where it will proudly showcase our state's forests.

Not only will this be a unique opportunity for Rio Blanco County to highlight our great outdoors and remind the world that Colorado is a wonderful place to visit, but it also will underline the importance of healthy forests and good forest-management practices to Colorado and our nation.

Colorado is experiencing one of its toughest droughts and most severe fire seasons in recent memory. We all have been affected by the haunting images of communities burning and thousands of evacuees who are unsure what, if anything, they will have after the fires are extinguished. Decades of fire suppression and lack of forest management on top of increasingly dry conditions fan these catastrophic flames, and we need to have a serious national conversation about the state of our forests and how we can help to mitigate wildfire danger in our communities.

I have consistently pushed my colleagues in Congress to preserve our breathtaking forests any way we can, and to not overlook the importance of forest health in ensuring public safety. This Christmas tree will be a physical reminder to our nation that we need to ensure that we can preserve and improve our cherished forests for generations to come.

I am proud that Colorado's Christmas gift to the nation comes at such an important time, and I invite you to help me carry this message to Washington by participating in the events below celebrating and supporting our great outdoors.

Warm regards,