Fallen Calif. sequoia stumps park rangers

Oct. 29, 2011 at 2:40 PM
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SEQUOIA NATIONAL FOREST, Calif., Oct. 29 (UPI) -- Environmentalists suggest a massive tree that fell over at California's Sequoia National Forest should be left where it is.

The U.S. Forest Service is trying to decide what to do with the centuries-old sequoia that keeled over about a month ago along the forest's Trail of 100 Giants.

While the rangers mull over their options, the executive director of Sequoia Forest Keeper said the way Mother Nature would handle the issue would be to do nothing.

"I thought it was a great classroom for what nature does," Ara Marderosian told the Los Angeles Times. "It's quite a beautiful sight to see on the ground the way it is."

Experts suspect soggy ground caused by last winter's wet weather caused the tree, which has a shallow root system, to become unstable.

Falling over has been the fate of sequoia trees since well before people began poking around the Sierra Nevada; however, the Forest Service has its visitors to consider. The 300-foot tree, estimated to date back to Medieval times, is blocking a popular hiking trail, although tourists are allowed to climb on top of the 17-foot diameter trunk for now.

The Times said other suggestions include rerouting the trail around the tree or building a bridge or tunnel around the obstacle. Another option is cutting it up and hauling it away. "This has not happened in the Sequoia National Forest before," public affairs officer Denise Alonzo told the newspaper.

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