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California Storm Brings Down Giant Sequoia Tree

11/01/2017

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[00:00.00]
  • A powerful storm has brought down one of the most famous trees in the United States.
  • [00:08.83]
  • The huge “Pioneer Cabin Tree” fell Sunday in northern California during a storm that caused severe flooding.
  • [00:21.36]
  • The giant sequoia is famous for having a large hole at the bottom of its trunk.
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  • The hole was big enough for people to walk under.
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  • In the past, California state officials permitted vehicles to drive through it.
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  • Until now, thousands of people traveled to the Calaveras Big Trees State Park each year to see the giant sequoia.
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  • The park is located east of San Francisco, near Yosemite National Park.
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  • Some officials believed the tree was to up to 2,000 years old.
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  • The Calaveras Big Trees Association confirmed reports that the sequoia was no longer standing.
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  • “The Pioneer Cabin tree has fallen!” said a message posted to Facebook.
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  • The weekend storm was “just too much” for the tree to handle, it added.
  • [01:38.08]
  • California’s Department of Parks and Recreation said in a statement that root and trunk decay had weakened the tree.
  • [01:50.96]
  • That area around the sequoia had been closed because of storms and no one was hurt by the falling tree, it added.
  • [02:02.21]
  • Photographs posted on social media showed the fallen tree broken apart in some places as it sat on top of flooded ground.
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  • The huge roots that kept the tree in the ground for so many years were showing.
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  • Many visitors to the state park took pictures while standing underneath the famous sequoia.
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  • After hearing about the tree,
  • [02:33.70]
  • some posted photos and messages on social media about their memories and experiences.
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  • “It's kind of like someone in the family has died,” tree admirer Joyce Brown told the Associated Press.
  • [02:54.70]
  • Brown, now 65, said she was just 12 when her parents first took her to see the “drive-thru tree.”
  • [03:05.91]
  • She’s now a retired school teacher who spends about one-third of the year at a small cabin near the tree.
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  • The tunnel that made the sequoia famous also weakened it over time.
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  • The hole was made in the 1880s to let people and vehicles pass through the tree.
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  • This began with horses and buggies and later with cars.
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  • Eventually, the path going under the tree was only open to people walking.
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  • Sequoias are the largest tree species in the world.
  • [03:54.06]
  • They can reach up to eight meters in diameter.
  • [03:59.52]
  • A volunteer at the Calaveras Big Trees State Park explained that when the already mostly dead tree hit the ground,
  • [04:12.29]
  • it broke apart and was completely unrecognizable.
  • [04:18.74]
  • He said the tree quickly went from something "majestic" to pieces of “rubble."
  • [04:27.30]
  • I’m Dorothy Gundy.
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