World Famous Tunnel Tree Falls During Winter Storm (videos)

Categories: Nature, News

The toll from the powerful winter storm rolling through Northern California included one of Calaveras County's oldest residents, a giant sequoia called the Pioneer Cabin.

The tree, named for the tunnel that had been carved into its broad base 137 years ago, was located in the Calaveras Big Trees State Park and toppled Sunday.

"We lost an old friend today," wrote county resident Jim Allday, who posted a picture of the fallen titan on his Facebook page.

His photos show the tree trunk splintered heavily at its base.

Visitors could once drive through the tree, but it was most recently open only to hikers along a 1.5-mile loop.

The giant sequoias in the state park — the tallest of which is 250 feet — are estimated to be more than 1,000 years old.

"This iconic and still living tree — the tunnel tree — enchanted many visitors. The storm was just too much for it," the Calaveras Big Trees Assn. said on its Facebook page.

The Calaveras Big Trees State Park is located northeast of Angels Camp.

John Muir, the famous naturalist, once described the forest that is protected by Calaveras Big Trees State Park: "A flowering glade in the very heart of the woods, forming a fine center for the student, and a delicious resting place for the weary."

Here is a last tribute ... footage during it's last week standing:

Listen to the story of the Legend of the Cedar Tree

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