Tester requests Capitol tree be used for Sperry Chalet rebuild
GREAT FALLS — U.S. Senator Jon Tester is asking the Architect of the Capitol to allow the Capitol Christmas Tree to be hauled back to Montana to help rebuild the historic Sperry Chalet, which was destroyed during the 2017 wildfire season.
Partnering with The Washington Companies, SmartLam, and F.H. Stoltze Land & Lumber Co., Tester is working to transport the 79-foot Engelmann Spruce, which adorned the Capitol’s West Lawn this Christmas season, back to northwest Montana.
Tester notes that last August the fast-moving Sprague Fire in Glacier National Park—not far from where the tree was harvested—consumed the historic Sperry Chalet.
“This wooden and stone landmark, built in Glacier’s rugged backcountry more than a century ago, is irreplaceable,” wrote Tester. “But efforts are underway to rebuild the Sperry Chalet, and I can think of no better use for some of the Montana lumber in our Capitol Christmas Tree to assist in that endeavor. I’d like to see this tree go home to Big Sky Country, where it can continue giving to the people to whom our public lands belong.”
Tester acknowledged the generosity of the corporate partners who are helping make this project possible. Additionally, Tester has helped arrange the transport of the Montana-made copper star, which adorned the top of the tree, back to Montana Resources in Butte.