Iconic 1,000yo California tree falls victim to winter storm (PHOTOS)
Photos of the fallen icon, captured by park volunteer Jim Allday, were posted to the Calaveras Big Trees Association Facebook page, accompanied by the caption: “The Pioneer Cabin tree has fallen! This iconic and still living tree - the tunnel tree - enchanted many visitors. The storm was just too much for it.”
The giant sequoia tree was hollowed out in the 1880’s to allow travellers pass through its massive trunk as they journeyed through Calaveras County.
One of the most photographed trees in the world -- the iconic centuries old tunnel redwood -- has fallen. https://t.co/rm5oxOEtUK— Eric Wagoner (@ewagoner) January 9, 2017
At one point, even cars were able to pass through but recently only tourists and hikers were allowed travel under the trunk, which was part of the ‘Big Trees Trail’ at the Calaveras Big Trees State Park.
It seems many social media users have fond memories of the tree, with more than 1,900 comments already underneath its initial Facebook post. Such sentiments were echoed across the web.
Sad news for us today...thankfully we got to see this beautiful tree a couple months ago... 🌲The toll from the powerful winter storm rolling through Northern California included one of Calaveras County's oldest residents, a giant sequoia called the Pioneer Cabin. The tree, named for the tunnel that had been carved into its broad base 137 years ago, was located in the Calaveras Big Trees State Park and toppled Sunday. "We lost an old friend today," wrote county resident Jim Allday. The giant sequoias in the state park — the tallest of which is 250 feet — are estimated to be more than 1,000 years old. "This iconic and still living tree — the tunnel tree — enchanted many visitors. The storm was just too much for it," the Calaveras Big Trees Assn. John Muir, the famous naturalist, once described the forest that is protected by Calaveras Big Trees State Park: "A flowering glade in the very heart of the woods, forming a fine center for the student, and a delicious resting place for the weary." . . #calaverasbigtrees #pioneercabin #giantsequioa #sequioa #tree #california #johnmuir #wildexplorer #wanderlust
Sad... This, almost 2,000 year old sequoia tree in Calaveras Big Trees California state park, has fallen this weekend during the heavy storm. My friend took this picture of me under it this past Spring. It was a living tree and it was named Pioneer Cabin Tree. . . Photo credit: @nicole_grote #calaverasbigtrees #norcal #california #northerncalifornia #sequoia #visitcalifornia #onlyinnortherncalifornia #tree_magic #worldofhiking #modernhiker #norcalhiking #californiacaptures #unlimitedcalifornia #gotocalifornia
While it’s unclear why the tree fell, Allday believes it’s most likely the result of its shallow root system being flooded due to the storm. "When I went out there (Sunday afternoon), the trail was literally a river, the trail is washed out, 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,” Allday told SFGATE.
The storm was the most powerful of a recent series of extreme weather events that battered Northern California, causing widespread flooding, triggering mudslides, power outages and causing hundreds of people to be evacuated from their homes.