California might always seem to be deep in drought, but the state is home to giant forests of giant trees. One of the most famous trees in the state is Pioneer Cabin Tree, it’s an iconic giant Sequoia that is located in Calaveras Big Trees State Park. The tree is so massive, it has a walkway carved in it’s trunk for visitors to literally step inside the giant sequoia and take in its massive size. Pictures of the famous tree and information can be found here.
The tree, which is believed to be over 1,000 years old, was sadly lost during a recent storm. It seems that the storm that swept through California just a few weeks ago was far too much for the tree to withstand and it toppled. According to a volunteer at Calaveras Big Trees Association, the tree was in rough shape prior to the storm. It was barely hanging on to life, there was only a single branch up top that was alive, and the tree itself had become very brittle and was beginning to lift up from the ground.
The tree had a massive 32 foot diameter that was a popular photo stop even before the tunnel was carved in it. It is a giant sequoia, a cousin to the coastal redwoods also found on the west coat, and know to be some of the largest trees in volume that have been known to live up to 3,000 years. The tree was hollowed out in the 1880s, a move made to compete with a similar tree that is found in Yosemite National Park. The tunnel won the tree a lot of attention and for a long period of time, even cars were able to drive through it’s massive trunk.
It was later discovered that the destruction of the trunk, the thing that made it a tourist attraction, had permanently damaged the tree. Due to the huge cut in the trunk, the tree could no longer support the growth at the top of the tree. The opening also reduced the trees ability to resist fire, furthering endangering it. It was only a matter of time before the tree would see it’s final days, and a storm just weeks ago took the tree down forever.