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Posted by: thepinetree on 01/31/2018 01:34 PM Updated by: thepinetree on 01/31/2018 10:20 PM
Expires: 01/01/2023 12:00 AM
:

California State Parks Begins Study of Fallen, Iconic ‘Tunnel Tree’ in Calaveras Big Trees State Park

Arnold, CA...Marking one year since the famous Pioneer Cabin Tunnel Tree toppled, California State Parks, Save the Redwoods League and Humboldt State University today announced plans to use the fallen sequoia to study the tree’s life history and gather historic climate-related information for the surrounding area. The information will help California State Parks better manage the existing groves of redwood trees. The giant sequoia is the largest tree species in the world, with some trees reaching a diameter of 36 feet.


The Pioneer Cabin Tree before it fell (left) and recently when a piece was cut to be studied (right).



Located within Calaveras Big Trees State Park within a relatively large sequoia grove containing more than 150 specimens estimated to be 2,000 years old, the Pioneer Cabin Tree was one of California’s oldest tourist attractions and a beloved specimen of a rare California native species. A combination of trunk and root decay and storm water runoff appears to have brought the giant sequoia down at its base on January 8, 2017, shattering it and a nearby cedar tree. The Pioneer Cabin Tree stood approximately 205 feet tall and was more than 19 feet in diameter (measured six feet from the ground).

“California’s state parks are endowed with globally, nationally and regionally significant natural resources,” said Heather Reith, Senior Environmental Scientist at Calaveras Big Trees State Park. “Studying the Pioneer Cabin Tree will reveal valuable information about drought, rainfall, historic fire intervals and other climate changes over time that will assist in the long term and sustainable stewardship of these treasured giant sequoias.”

Since the tree fell last year, California State Parks has worked with Save the Redwoods League and Humboldt State University Dendrochronologist Allyson Carroll, a scientist who studies tree rings to comprehend past events, to create a plan to study the tree. The first step in the study of the sequoia involved removing approximately a 7 ½’ by 3 ½’ piece of the tree using a large saw. The section took about ten hours to remove and was then relocated to a warm and dry building within the park. The specimen will take at least six months to dry. Once drying is complete, Save the Redwoods League will sand and prepare the piece for Dendrochronologist Carroll to begin her study of the tree’s rings.

“This iconic ‘tunnel tree’—thousands of years old when it died—has one more story to tell, and it’s all about the dynamic environment that it has occupied throughout its long life,” said Paul Ringgold, Chief Program Officer at Save the Redwoods League. “With the last remaining giant sequoia living in small, scattered groves along California’s Sierra Nevada, it’s important for us to know as much as we can about their life history, so we can all better protect these ancient giants.”

After Carroll has collected and recorded all information, the removed portion of the tree will remain in the park as part of an interpretive display that State Parks and the League will collaboratively design, where its history can live on.

Calaveras Big Trees State Park became a state park in 1931 to preserve the North Grove of giant sequoias. Lightning strikes in the 1800s hollowed out the Pioneer Cabin Tree’s base and later knocked off its crown and opened up its side. In 1881, the Pioneer Cabin Tree base was squared off and enlarged. Similar to Big Stump, the base of the 1850 Discovery Tree at Calaveras Big Trees State Park, the Pioneer Cabin Tree helped visitors experience the enormous size of the ancient sequoias. For 60 years, tourists rode horses and carriages through the Pioneer Cabin Tree, and in the 1920s, automobiles passed through it. Thousands of visitors posed for photos at the tree.

About the Famous Giant Sequoias

The Pioneer Cabin Tree was one of the last of the historic tunnel trees in the Sierra. This giant sequoia fell in January 2017 after a series of heavy storms. The Palace Hotel Tree and Smith Cabin Tree remain standing in the more remote South Grove Nature Preserve at Calaveras Big Trees State Park. The California Tree in Yosemite’s Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias and three coast redwood tunnel trees in northwestern California are other storied sequoias in public parks.

###

California State Parks Mission
To provide for the health, inspiration and education of the people of California by helping to preserve the state’s extraordinary biological diversity, protecting its most valued natural and cultural resources, and creating opportunities for high quality outdoor recreation.

Save the Redwoods League
One of the nation’s oldest conservation organizations, Save the Redwoods League has been protecting and restoring redwood forests since 1918, connecting generations of visitors with the beauty and serenity of the redwood forest. Our 19,000 supporters have enabled the League to protect more than 200,000 acres of irreplaceable forest in 66 state, national and local parks and reserves. For more information, go to SaveTheRedwoods.org.


Comments - Make a comment
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No Subject
Posted on: 2018-01-31 13:54:39   By: Anonymous
 
Duh. It doesn’t take a scientist or a study (and one taxpayers are likely supporting. Even a child should know that if you cut out the inside living tissue of plant or animal, it will most certainly die in time.

[Reply ]

    Re:
    Posted on: 2018-01-31 15:56:21   By: Anonymous
     
    It is paramount we use taxpayer dollars especially up here in Calaveras County where we have so much surplus of cash. Thanks, Gary and Dennis. Oh but wait I almost forgot you will soon both be unemployed. Gary, I took the liberty to look up Port City Steel, your company, and its building down in Stockton. With all the rules you feel are so important why is your building such a piece of junk and in a residential neigborhood.

    [Reply ]

    Re:
    Posted on: 2018-01-31 15:56:51   By: Anonymous
     
    Well then, let's go find those guys who did it in the 19th century and string them up.

    [Reply ]

      Re:
      Posted on: 2018-01-31 17:57:04   By: Anonymous
       
      The real idiots were the ones that took down the Stump Tree. They just wanted the bark. It died for nothing.

      [Reply ]

        Re:
        Posted on: 2018-01-31 21:05:18   By: Anonymous
         
        No one took down the Pioneer Cabin Tree you idiot! The tree fell during a winter storm last January and they took samples of the tree for future studies.

        [Reply ]

Terrific
Posted on: 2018-01-31 19:38:50   By: Anonymous
 
I can't wait to hear the results of the study.
Counting the rings is a huge undertaking.
I hope I live long enough to read the study results.
I have so many wonderful, fun family photos from all of
our walk throughs....great memories !
Thank you for doing this. It matters to so many.

[Reply ]

    Re: Terrific
    Posted on: 2018-02-01 06:19:35   By: Anonymous
     
    Go hug it !

    [Reply ]

      Re: Terrific
      Posted on: 2018-02-01 08:13:18   By: Anonymous
       
      I got something for you to hug.

      [Reply ]

    Re: Terrific
    Posted on: 2018-02-01 11:11:27   By: Anonymous
     
    The park already spent thousands of dollars years ago with the University of Arizona to study fire history. This work has already been done. Waste of money.

    [Reply ]

Tree hazard potential study USA CA Calaveras County Tunnel tree
Posted on: 2018-02-03 19:27:20   By: Anonymous
 
Does anyone believe that the tunnel could possibly have had anything to do with the failure?

WT

[Reply ]


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