Coast Guard Cutter Mackinaw to Load 1,000 Christmas Trees on Deck

CHEBOYGAN, Mich. – As part of the annual Christmas Tree Ship, the USCGC Mackinaw will be loaded with more than 1,000 Christmas Trees, here, on Monday at 11:00 a.m., at Millard D. Olds Memorial Moorings.

The trees will be loaded by the Mackinaw crew, crew members families, and the Ogemaw Heights High School Navy JROTC Cadets.

Two hundred trees will be presented to the local Salvation Army in Cheboygan. The Salvation Army, along with the local police and fire departments, will accept them for distribution to deserving resident families.

The trees were purchased from Cheboygan-area tree growers by Chicago’s Christmas Tree Ship committee. This annual event is a culmination of efforts by the Chicago Christmas Tree Ship Committee, working together with the U.S. Coast Guard, U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary, the Sea Partners Program, Chicago Navy Pier, and the generous boaters of the marine community to help make Christmas special for deserving Chicago families.

Upon arrival to Navy Pier the trees will be distributed through Ada S. McKinley Community Services to deserving families.

The sailing vessel Rouse Simmons was the original Christmas Tree Ship in the early 1900’s. Her annual arrival on the Chicago waterfront with freshly cut trees from the Michigan Upper Peninsula was a highlight and, to many Chicago-area residents, a sign of the arrival of the Christmas season. The USCGC Mackinaw (WAGB 83) began the re-enactment event in 2000 and her legacy is being carried on by USCGC Mackinaw (WLBB 30) for the second year.

During the transit to Chicago, the 1,000 Christmas trees will share the deck space of Mackinaw with navigational buoys, some weighing as much as 12,000 lbs. Mackinaw will continue to conduct seasonal Aids to Navigation operations in Southern Lake Michigan along the approaches to Gary, IN and Calumet Harbor, IL.

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