The Pioneer Cabin Tree of Calaveras County, a giant sequoia with a car-sized hole in it, was felled by the weekend storm.
“The Pioneer Cabin tree has fallen!” said a post on the Calaveras Big Trees Association Facebook page. “This iconic and still living tree – the tunnel tree – enchanted many visitors. The storm was just too much for it.”
The Pioneer Cabin Tree was one of the most prominent features in the North Grove of the Sierra redwoods in Calaveras Big Trees State Park. The north grove has been popular with tourists since the 1800s.
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When the Wawona Tunnel Tree in Yosemite was carved, the owners of the North Grove responded by doing the same to their tree. The Pioneer Cabin Tree was chosen for carving in the 1880s because of an extremely wide base.
The Calaveras tunnel tree was a hit. Initially cars were allowed to drive through, but in recent years it has been popular with park visitors who gather the family in the hole at the base of the tree and pose for a picture.
Some of those hikers who visited the tree posted pictures and comments on the Calaveras Big Trees Association Facebook page.
“Bummer!” wrote Therese Tucker.
“Oh no!!! I wanted to visit it one day,” said Mandy Glennie.
“What are you going to do with the tree? Will you cut it up and if so can a person get some of it? Would like to make some bowls and pens,” wrote Robert Mitchell.