Holiday in the National Parks Celebrated at the White House
Contact: Melissa Wilson, 406 888-7895
WEST GLACIER, MONT. – An ornament featuring Glacier National Park is prominently displayed on this year’s official White House Christmas Tree. The tree, located in the Blue Room, is the centerpiece of elaborate decorations celebrating the theme of “Holiday in the National Parks.” The tree is adorned with handmade ornaments representing the country’s 391 National Park Service sites.
Glacier National Park’s ornament was designed by Karen Leigh, a fourth-generation Montanan who has lived in the Flathead Valley since 1970. Leigh painted the round ornament with scenes from Glacier including snow-capped mountains, cascading falls and lakes, a historic lodge, and beargrass and other flora. Leigh also attended a White House reception hosted by First Lady Laura Bush on November 28.
Leigh’s family connection to the National Park Service runs strong. Her great grandfather, Cornelius Hedges, was part of an expedition to explore the headwaters of the Yellowstone River. He wrote a series of articles describing the wonders he had seen and editorialized in favor of federal legislation setting aside the area as a national park.
Park officials appreciate the support of Hockaday Museum of Art Executive Director Linda Engh-Grady. She and a committee identified Leigh for this special project. The Hockaday Museum of Art, located in Kalispell, Mont., works to enrich the cultural life of the community and region, and to preserve the artistic legacy of Montana and Glacier National Park. For more information on the Hockaday Museum of Art contact 406-755-7268 or visit its Web site at: http://www.hockadaymuseum.org/.
The National Park Service theme continues throughout the White House. Holiday displays incorporate the wide variety of natural, cultural, and recreational features preserved by the National Park Service. Holiday garlands intertwined with park objects including seashells, pine cones, and gold aspen leaves add to each room’s festive feel. See http://www.whitehouse.gov/holiday/2007/ for more information.
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Did You Know?
The "Backbone of the World" is the Blackfeet tribal name given to the greater Glacier National Park ecosystem.