Space & Innovation

Historic 'Drive-Through' Sequoia Tree Was Felled by California Storms

Heavy rains and strong winds overcame the tree, which had stood for hundreds of years.

<p>Tom Purcell/Flickr</p>

One of California's most famous trees fell victim to this weekend's storms, according to the Los Angeles Times.

The historic Pioneer Cabin Tree, a former "drive-through" giant sequoia in Calaveras Big Trees State Park in Calaveras County, was reported toppled by 2 pm on Sunday. A volunteer at the park, Jim Allday, told SF Gate that the tree "shattered" upon impact to the ground.

The Pioneer Cabin Tree had been hollowed out in the 1880s so hikers and horses, then later cars, could drive through it. The idea was based on the hollowed-out Wawona Tunnel Tree, which was killed by the process and then fell in a storm in the 1960s.

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The Pioneer Cabin Tree had lived despite the carved hole, however, and was believed to be hundreds of years old. While it had since been closed to vehicle traffic, hikers could walk through the 150-foot-tall tree, which stood within a 1.5-mile trail in the park.

"We lost an old friend today. The Pioneer Cabin Tree, or drive-thru tree, succumbed to nature and toppled," wrote Allday in a post on his Facebook page.

The tree's root system apparently could not withstand the heavy rains and strong winds that lashed northern California over the weekend. The storms caused mudslides and widespread flooding throughout Norther California and Nevada.

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