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Iconic Redwood “tunnel tree” falls during storm



Iconic Redwood “tunnel tree” falls during storm


Iconic Redwood “tunnel tree” falls during storm

An iconic, giant Redwood tree in California that features a hollowed-out tunnel, was knocked over during a storm on Sunday, according to a nonprofit group.

A powerful winter storm came into California over the weekend, causing flooding and mudslides in some regions. According to the Associated Press, it might be the biggest storm to have hit the region in decades.

On Sunday, a volunteer at the Calaveras Big Trees State Park reported that the tree had not survived.

The Pioneer Cabin tree is a sequoia in Calaveras Big Trees State Park. It is about 90 miles east of Sacramento. The tree has become quite the tourist attraction in the area.

“The storm was just too much for it,” the Calaveras Big Tree Association wrote on Facebook.

Jim Allday, a park volunteer, said that the tree fell around 2 p.m. on Sunday and was “shattered” when it hit the ground.

“When I went out there, the trail was literally a river; the trail is washed out,” he said. “I could see the tree on the ground — it looked like it was laying in a pond or lake with a river running through it.”

Joan Allday, Mr. Allday’s wife and also a volunteer at the park, said that the Pioneer Cabin tree had become “very brittle” and was “barely alive.”

The base of the tree was carved out in the 1880’s. Originally, people were known to ride horses through the tunnel. Once cars became popular, cars could drive through. But more recently, over the years only hikers were allowed to go through the tunnel tree.

While it is unclear how old the tree is, the Los Angeles Times reported that trees in the area are estimated to be more than 1,000 years old. Sequoias have the ability to live for more than 3,000 years.

The Pioneer Cabin tree was one of the few remaining tunnel trees. Another iconic tunnel tree, the Wawona Tree, fell during a winter storm in 1969. That tree was estimated to be around 2,100 years old and was in the Yosemite National Park. Other remaining sequoia tunnel trees are now dead and have logs on their side, according to the Forest Service.

Tunnel trees were created in the 19th century as a way to spark tourism and promote parks. But, cutting through the tree does damage the tree.

“Tunnel trees had their time and place in the early history of our national parks,” the National Park Service has written. “But today sequoias which are standing healthy and whole are worth far more.”


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