Famous 1,000-year-old tree destroyed by devastating storm
The "Pioneer Cabin Tree" was a giant sequoia in the Calaveras Big Trees State Park in California. This impressive specimen measured 33 feet in diameter and experts estimate it to have been around 1,000 years old. Just over 130 years ago, in an attempt to draw more tourists, the decision was made to drill a hole in the tree large enough for people — and even vehicles — to pass through. A photo posing "in the tree" became an absolute must for park visitors.
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The tree became a magnet for anyone visiting that part of the country — that is, until earlier this week. The massive hole at its base had taken its toll on the giant sequoia and over the years it had become weaker and weaker — the top of the tree had even stopped growing. Everyone knew that this natural wonder's days were numbered.
Then came the final blow — a terrible storm hit the area on Sunday and sealed the tree's fate once and for all.
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The storm hit the area hard, causing flooding and landslides. Afterwards, when park rangers did their routine rounds to inspect the damage, they were shocked and saddened to find the Pioneer Cabin Tree uprooted and lying on the forest floor. The storm had simply been too much for it.
— KCBS 106.9 FM/740 AM (@KCBSNews) 9. Januar 2017
For 1,000 years this awe-inspiring giant of nature stretched to the sky and impressed many generations of visitors. But now an important piece of natural history is gone forever. Over the past 130 years we've learned a lot about our natural environment and we now know better than to drill a massive hole through such a precious piece of nature. If we'd known that back in the 1880s, this beautiful tree might still be standing. Let's not make that same mistake again!