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Rainier on display on White House Christmas Tree

Post by Craig Hill / The News Tribune on Nov. 29, 2007 at 1:53 pm |
November 29, 2007 1:53 pm

The theme for this year’s White House Christmas tree is “Holiday in the National Parks.” Mount Rainier National Park is being recognized with a handmade ornament. The tree is in the White House’s blue room.


There are 347 ornaments on the tree. To see one from each state, check out the White House website.


Here are some photos of the ornament courtesy of MRNP.


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Click below to read the announcement from Mount Rainier National Park and the Park Service.



A Mount Rainier National Park ornament is

prominently displayed on this year’s official White House Christmas

Tree. The tree is the centerpiece of elaborate decorations celebrating

the theme of "Holiday in the National Parks."


"It is an amazing honor for the National Park Service to be selected as

the theme for the White House holiday decorations by the President and

Mrs. Bush," said National Park Service Director Mary A. Bomar. "Mrs.

Bush is the best champion for our national parks, and the beautiful

decorations in each state room showcase the natural and historical

treasures found in parks throughout the country."


The tree, located in the Blue Room, is adorned with handmade ornaments

representing the country’s 391 National Park Service sites. "Each

ornament on the magnificent 18-foot Fraser fir was designed by an artist

selected by the park," said Bomar. "The ornaments tell the stories of

our parks, just as our parks tell the stories of our nation."


Eatonville artist Dale Thompson created the ornament that represents the

park for the White House tree. "I was really very privileged to have

been asked to do it (the ornament) and hope it will be well received by

the Bush family. It is an honor to have it on the tree" said Thompson.


The ornament depicts the traditional iconic mountain scene of Paradise

meadows and the Muir snowfield taken from Mazama Ridge. A

self-described bird nut, Thompson also included on the back side of the

ornament images of two colorful bird species found in the park – the

western tanager and the Steller’s jay perched on white pine boughs.


Thompson prepared the golden globe with a base matte finish of Krylon

spray, painted it white, then used acrylic paints to complete the image.

A finishing coat of gloss Krylon spray was applied to preserve the paint

finish and provide shine. In total, Thompson estimates he spent 55-60

hours on his work of art.


Thompson has a long history with the National Park Service, having

worked for 20 years in seven national parks before retiring as Mount

Rainier’s Chief Park Naturalist in 1981. Now Thompson spends his days

as an artist, preferring to paint bird images in watercolor.

The holiday displays incorporate the wide variety of natural, cultural,

and recreational features preserved by the National Park Service.

Models of icons such as the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse and the Statue of

Liberty share space with paintings of scenic vistas from Grand Canyon,

Zion, and Rocky Mountain National Parks. Holiday garlands intertwined

with park objects including seashells, pine cones, and gold aspen leaves

add to each room’s festive feel.


A highlight of the decorations is a scaled-down, but architecturally

accurate, gingerbread reproduction of the south view of the White House,

a unit of the National Park Service. The edible masterpiece includes

Bush family pets Barney, Miss Beazley, and Willie frolicking on the lawn

with moose, elk, raccoons, and other animals found in national parks.


"National Parks commemorate the people, places, and events that define

the American experience," said Secretary of the Interior Dirk

Kempthorne. "I am so appreciative of President Bush’s efforts to

recognize the important role of national parks in American society. Our

country will celebrate the 100th anniversary of the National Park

Service in 2016 and the President has been instrumental in establishing

the National Park Centennial Initiative to prepare the parks for the

next century."

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