A powerful winter storm in California has brought down an ancient tree, carved into a living tunnel more than a century ago.
The “Pioneer Cabin Tree,” a sequoia in Calaveras Big Trees State Park, saw horses and cars pass through it over the years. More recently, only hikers were allowed to walk through the massive tree.
Over the weekend, a powerful winter storm slammed into California and Nevada, prompting flooding and mudslides in some regions. The Associated Press reports it might be the biggest storm to hit the region in more than a decade.
On Sunday, a volunteer at the state park reported that Pioneer Cabin had not survived.
“The storm was just too much for it,” the Calaveras Big Tree Association wrote on Facebook.
It’s unclear exactly how old the tree was, but The Los Angeles Times reports that the trees in the state park are estimated to be more than 1,000 years old. Sequoias can live for more than 3,000 years.
The iconic tree was one of just a few tunneled-through sequoias in California. The most famous was the Wawona Tree, in Yosemite National Park; it fell during a winter storm in 1969 at an estimated age of 2,100 years. The other remaining sequoia tunnels are dead or consist of logs on their side, the Forest Service says.
However, there are still three coastal redwoods (taller and more slender than sequoias) with tunnels cut through them. They’re all operated by private companies, the Forest Service says, and still allow cars to drive through.