One of California's Iconic Drive-Through 'Tunnel' Trees Falls Down During Major Storm

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From Country Living

One of northern California's biggest tourist attractions is no more. The "pioneer cabin tree," a Giant Sequoia with a tunnel visitors could once drive through, fell down over the weekend after a massive storm rocked the area, ABC News reports.

The 150-foot tree, which was at Calaveras Big Trees State Park, was given its own tunnel in the 1880s to compete with a similar tree at Yosemite, and has become a hit with tourists ever since. The Huffington Post notes that the tree had fans even before that, because it had a 32-foot diameter and a photogenic fire scar at the base of its trunk. It got the name "pioneer cabin" because you could walk underneath and see how hollow the tree was, making it look like a log cabin, according to the Washington Post.

It may have fallen down because it had shallow roots and the trail was flooding around it. Plus, it had been getting weaker over the years. "It was barely alive, there was one branch alive at the top," park volunteer Joan Allday told the Chronicle. "But it was very brittle and starting to lift." And according to the San Francisco Chronicle, cars could go through it for a while, but lately only hikers have been allowed to walk through it.

The park confirmed the news on Facebook, showing pictures of the massive trunk fallen into pieces on the ground. "The storm was just too much for it," the Calaveras Big Trees Association posted.

It's unclear exactly how old the tree was when it fell. But the Yosemite tree it was competing with, the Wawona Tree, fell down in 1969 at the ripe old age of 2,100.

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