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Iconic California walk-through sequoia tree falls in storm

The walk-through opening in the tree was carved 137 years ago.

By
Ed Adamczyk
The famous Pioneer Cabin Tree in California's Calaveras Big Trees State park fell Sunday after the ground around it flooded. The 150-foot tree, noted for its iconic carved pathway through it, was a tourist attraction for many years. Photo by California Big Trees Association/Facebook
The famous Pioneer Cabin Tree in California's Calaveras Big Trees State park fell Sunday after the ground around it flooded. The 150-foot tree, noted for its iconic carved pathway through it, was a tourist attraction for many years. Photo by California Big Trees Association/Facebook

ARNOLD , Calif., Jan. 9 (UPI) -- An iconic sequoia tree in northern California, famous for a pathway carved through its trunk, fell as Northern California endured severe storms and flooding, park officials said.

The Pioneer Cabin Tree, 33 feet in diameter at its base and 150 feet tall, had a wide walkway carved through it 137 years ago, before the Calaveras North Grove of sequoia trees was purchased by the California State Park System. A popular tourist attraction, vintage postcards depicted cars traveling through its opening, although in later years it was open only to hikers. The tree splintered heavily at its base and crashed to the ground on Sunday afternoon, an apparent victim of severe storms affecting the area.

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Park volunteer Jim Allday said the tree had shallow roots, no more than 4 feet deep, and that the trail around the tree was flooded with rainwater.

"We lost an old friend today," Allday wrote.

The Calaveras Big Trees Association, a volunteer group, wrote on its Facebook page: "This iconic and still-living tree -- the tunnel tree -- enchanted many visitors. The storm was just too much for it."

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