A bill to change the state tree was drafted at the request of Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox, who left his seat in the state House of Representatives earlier this month to assume his current post.
But Okerlund said the movement for the change actually started with a fourth-grade class in Sevier County. During a recent trip to central Utah, Gov. Gary Herbert was lobbied by the students to change the state tree to the aspen.
Herbert told the students he has wondered since his own fourth-grade days why the Colorado blue spruce is the state tree. The governor is open to the change should the Legislature pass the bill next session, according to his staff.
In Fishlake National Forest near Richfield, a large cluster of aspen trees connected by underground roots has the distinction of being the largest living organism on Earth.
Okerlund said he'll mention that distinction when he lobbies his colleagues to change the state tree during the session that begins in January.
He told the Daily Herald he's now looking for a new House sponsor for the bill, possibly Cox's replacement to be selected in early November.
Utah officially adopted the Colorado blue spruce as the state tree in 1933.