The historic Pioneer Cabin Tree, a giant sequoia tree located in the Calaveras Big Trees State Park of Central California, fell this weekend. The park is located near Arnold, which is about 80 miles southeast of Sacramento on the west slopes of the Sierra Nevada Mountains. Although an exact reason is not known, the shallow root system of sequoia trees coupled with the rough weather conditions may have been the cause of the tree being toppled. Heavy rain, wind and flooding was reported throughout California as a strong storm system crashed into the region.
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. Thank you, Jim Allday, for the word and the photos.
According to Jim Allday, a volunteer with the Calaveras Big Trees Association who spoke with the San Francisco Chronicle, the tree fell around 2 p.m. Sunday. “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 said people had been walking through the tree on Sunday morning.
The view through the Pioneer Cabin Tree is inviting. Photo by Claudia Beymer
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The Pioneer Cabin tree was also known as The Tunnel Tree. It was hollowed out in the 1880s after suffering a bore from a forest fire. Tourists enjoyed the tree for nearly 140 years and were originally able to drive through the opening. The tree measured 33 feet in circumference.
For WeatherNation: Meteorologist Mace Michaels