Internet Pays Tribute to Iconic “Tunnel Tree” That Toppled Over in a Storm

Internet Pays Tribute to the Pioneer Cabin Tree

Photo credit: Jayson Oertel

For folks visiting the Calaveras Big Tree State Park in California, the historic Pioneer Cabin Tree was an icon. In the 1880s, it was one of the huge sequoias turned into a “tunnel tree”—a massive hole was cut into its base, large enough for a car to drive through. Although this pathway looks impressive, it made the Pioneer Cabin Tree (and others like it) susceptible to the damaging effects of powerful storms. This particular plant was the last of these tunnel trees, and this past week, it too succumbed to the elements and toppled over from heavy rain and snow.

The Calaveras Big Trees Association said that the “storm was just too much for it [the tree].” Volunteer Jim Allday was working at the park when the tree fell. Around 2 PM he reported that it “shattered” on impact. “When I went out there [Sunday afternoon], the trail was literally a river, the trail is washed out,” Allday told SFGate. “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.”

Visitors, both old and new, mourn the demise of this 1,000-year-old tree. In a Facebook post, visitor Claudia Beymer shared two photos—one before and one after the storm. “This is a sad loss for thousands of park visitors and friends,” she said. Other people fondly remember visiting the tree when they were younger, then returning as adults with their own kids. “Breaks my heart that it’s gone,” commenter Linda Schnittger wrote. Perhaps we can find solace through the countless vacation photos and memories made over the past 130 years.

The Pioneer Cabin Tree was established in the 1880s. Here it is, prior to the tunnel.

Internet Pays Tribute to the Pioneer Cabin Tree

Photo credit: Lawrence & Houseworth/Wikimedia

In 1912…

Internet Pays Tribute to the Pioneer Cabin Tree

Photo credit: Modesto Bee File

…and more recently:

Internet Pays Tribute to the Pioneer Cabin Tree

Photo credit: Lance Gerber

Internet Pays Tribute to the Pioneer Cabin Tree

Photo credit: Outdoor Project

Internet Pays Tribute to the Pioneer Cabin Tree

Photo credit: Claudia Beymer

Sadly, this behemoth toppled over recently…

Internet Pays Tribute to the Pioneer Cabin Tree

Photo credit: Alan Beymer

Internet Pays Tribute to the Pioneer Cabin Tree

Photo credit: Claudia Beymer

…but not without leaving countless memories from visitors.

Internet Pays Tribute to the Pioneer Cabin Tree

Photo credit: California State Parks

Calaveras Big Tree State Park: Website | Facebook
h/t: [Neatorama, BuzzFeed]

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