Iconic 'drive-through' tree destroyed after storm batters California

Ray Hunter
January 15, 2017

The Pioneer Cabin Tree, a giant sequoia in Calaveras Big Trees State Park that was tunneled through in the 1880s, has fallen due to severe winter weather.

On Facebook, where the tree's death was first announced, park visitors shared generations of memories involving the giant sequoia.

An iconic tree in Calaveras County, California, is no more.

The storms, which look to continue through Wednesday, could be the biggest the region has seen in more than a decade, The Associated Press reports.

Park volunteer Jim Allday of Arnold says the tree shattered as it hit the ground.

The Pioneer Cabin Tree, in an undated photo from the California Department of Parks and Recreation. At the time, the Pioneer Cabin Tree was part of a privately owned resort, Redwood Hikes stated. "The opening also has reduced the ability of the tree to resist fire".

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.

Visitors could once drive through the tree, but it was most recently open only to hikers along a 1.5-mile loop. All the remaining sequoia trees with tunnels are now either logs lying their side or are dead, according to the Forest Service.

Thumbnail image courtesy of Tom Purcell, Flickr.

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