California Storm Brings Down Famous Tunnel Tree
Northern California’s famous tunnel tree, also known as the pioneer cabin tree, called Calaveres Big Trees State Park home for more than what is believed to be 2000 years. At 150 ft., tall and as wide as a small cabin, the tree always made a lasting impression on its observers. Sadly, the tree is no longer standing.
Over one hundred years ago, the giant Sequoia was carved into a pass-through tunnel large enough to allow people – and even cars – to pass beneath the mammoth tree. A tourist attraction for over a hundred years, the tunnel tree was an iconic fascination of the great state of California, drawing people from all over to come see the incredible rare Sequoia. Many visitors would carve their names on the tree, many still visibly inscribed from years ago.
A recent winter storm proved to be more than the ancient tree could handle, and park rangers reported that the tree had not made it through the powerful storm. The loss of such an iconic landmark is saddening as it has watched so many come and go and has been such a memorable part of California to so many people.
A huge part of history since the late 1880’s, those that have had the pleasure of visiting the famous tunnel tree can consider themselves lucky to have had such an experience, while those who wanted to visit but are now unable, mourn the chance to pass beneath the majestic beast. A great California legacy is no longer and it is certainly bittersweet. Fortunately, we can take heart in knowing that the park plans to allow the tree to rest where it lay, peacefully, throughout the next phase of its life cycle.
While many factors could be to blame for the toppling of the tunnel tree, some theories propose that the carving of names on the tree’s bark may have slowed the healing process from the wildfire burns the trees sustain, weakening it until it met its demise in the storm.
If visitors would still like a similar experience while visiting California, they have the option of driving through the three remaining privately owned tunneled redwoods found in the area.
Photo credit: http://www.sciencealert.com/the-1-000-year-old-iconic-tunnel-tree-pioneer-cabin-has-fallen-from-a-winter-storm