Remembering the iconic 'tunnel tree': 5 facts about giant sequoias

Iconic tree collapses after heavy rain.

Winter storms walloping California have left a fallen icon in their path: A giant sequoia famous for a "drive-thru" tunnel carved into its trunk.

The "Pioneer Cabin Tree," a sequoia in Calaveras Big Trees State Park, was carved over a century ago.

According to the San Francisco Chronicle, its trunk was carved in order to let tourists pass through.

The tree was carved to emulate similar trees, like the famous Wawona Tree, in Yosemite National Park.

Another carved sequoia, the fallen "Tunnel Log," remains in use in the Sequoia National Park.

A 1899 stereograph from The New York Public Library shows a group of people standing in the carved tunnel of the Pioneer Cabin sequoia in Calaveras Grove, California.

Calaveras Big Trees State Park volunteer Jim Allday posted photos Sunday saying, "We lost an old friend today."

So, to honor the fallen icon here are five interesting facts (according to the National Park Service) about sequoia trees:

- A giant sequoia in California's Sequoia National Park known as General Sherman is the world's largest tree.

- Giant sequoias are the third longest-lived tree species with the oldest known tree to have been nearly 3,300 years old.

- Giant sequoias are known to take advantage of natural fires to gain a "competitive edge" for reproduction.

- The largest of the sequoias are as tall as an average 26-story building and can exceed the width of city streets at their base.

- The sequoia can sprout only from seeds, small seeds 91,000 of which weigh just 1 pound.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

PHOTOS: The majesty of the giant sequoia

(© 2017 KPNX)


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