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MARKER DATABASE
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Fish Camp in Mariposa County, California — The American West (Pacific Coastal)
 

The Surviving Tunnel Tree

 
 
The Surviving Tunnel Tree Marker image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, June 2, 2015
1. The Surviving Tunnel Tree Marker
Inscription. Walk through this living tree and look for evidence of it heeling itself. Bark of this sequoia is growing inward in an attempt to close over its wound — the large tunnel carved in 1895. Thought to have served as a lower elevation winter replacement for the more famous Wawona Tunnel Tree, this tree became the second to be tunneled in this grove.

The Wawona Tunnel tree fell in 1969 after serving as a portal to the past for over 75 years. Although weakened, the California Tunnel Tree survives today and offers us a glimpse into early tourism promotion and transportation. Both trees were helpful in publicizing the Mariposa Grove and promoting its inclusion into Yosemite National Park in 1906.
 
Location. 37° 30.206′ N, 119° 36.514′ W. Marker is in Fish Camp, California, in Mariposa County. Marker is on Mariposa Grove Road. Touch for map. In the Mariposa Grove, Yosemite National Park. Marker is in this post office area: Fish Camp CA 93623, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 12 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Wawona Hotel (approx. 3.4 miles away); The Art of Thomas Hill (approx. 3.5 miles away); Madera Sugar Pine Flume (approx. 8.9 miles away);
<i>President Roosevelt amid "Nature's Wonders" - driving through Wawona, Big Trees of California</i> image. Click for full size.
Stereograph View by Underwood & Underwood, July 18, 1903
2. President Roosevelt amid "Nature's Wonders" - driving through Wawona, Big Trees of California
Roosevelt is the one standing in the rear of the car.

Before the cars came, driving through the Wawona Tunnel tree with horse-drawn wagons was popular. Note the wagon wheel ruts in front of the wagon. (Image courtesy of the Library of Congress.)
William Sell Jr. Memorial Bridge (approx. 9 miles away); Wassama Village (approx. 10.9 miles away); Wassama Roundhouse (approx. 11.3 miles away); Giant Sequoia Cutting (approx. 11.8 miles away); Little Church on the Hill (approx. 11.8 miles away).
 
Also see . . .  Frequently Asked Questions, Tunnel Tree. "Why not cut a new tunnel tree?" many visitors suggest, when they discover that the Wawona Tree can no longer be driven through. Times change, however, and actions proper for one generation may not fit the needs and goals of a succeeding generation. Our expectations of national parks have changed immensely during the past half century. When our national parks were young, cutting tunnels through sequoia trees was a way to popularize the parks and gain support for their protection. In those early days, national parks usually were managed to protect individual features rather than to protect the integrity of the complete environment. Today, we realize that our national parks represent some of the last primeval landscapes in America, and our goal in the parks is to allow nature to run its course with as little interference from humans as possible. Tunnel trees had their time and place in the early history of
<i>Big Trees of the West - Wawona (Diameter 27 ft.)</i> image. Click for full size.
circa 1908
3. Big Trees of the West - Wawona (Diameter 27 ft.)
...And then came the cars. Note there is much more soil surrounding the tree in this picture than in Picture No. 5.
our national parks. But today sequoias which are standing healthy and whole are worth far more. (Submitted on June 18, 2015.) 
 
Categories. Horticulture & ForestryMan-Made FeaturesRoads & Vehicles
 
Wawona Tunnel Tree image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, June 5, 2015
4. Wawona Tunnel Tree
This photo of the now-fallen Wawona Tunnel tree hangs in the Wawona Hotel.
The Wawona Tunnel Tree - Historical Postcard View image. Click for full size.
circa 1952
5. The Wawona Tunnel Tree - Historical Postcard View
The tunnel through Yosemite's famous Wawona Tree was cut in 1881 as a tourist attraction. It was the second standing sequoia to be tunneled (the first, a dead tree, still stands in the Tuolumne Grove in Yosemite). The Wawona Tree stood for 88 summers before it fell during the severe winter of 1968-69. Factors leading to its failure include heavy snow, wet soil, and, of course, the weakening effect of the tunnel. When it fell, the Wawona Tree was approximately 2,100 years old, 234 feet high (71.3 meters), and 26 feet in diameter at the base (7.9 meters). The famous tunnel was 7 feet wide, 9 feet high and 26 feet long at the base (2.1 meters by 2.7 meters by 7.9 meters). - National Park Service, "Frequently Asked Questions, Tunnel Tree"
California Tunnel Tree image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, June 2, 2015
6. California Tunnel Tree
Park ranger and passenger driving a government vehicle through the California Tunnel Tree c. 1920s. Notice the tree's name nailed to the tree above the tunnel.
Close-up of photo on marker
California Tunnel Tree image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, June 2, 2015
7. California Tunnel Tree
California Tunnel Tree image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, June 2, 2015
8. California Tunnel Tree
California Tunnel Tree image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, June 2, 2015
9. California Tunnel Tree
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on June 9, 2015, by Allen C. Browne of Silver Spring, Maryland. This page has been viewed 355 times since then and 82 times this year. Photos:   1. submitted on June 9, 2015, by Allen C. Browne of Silver Spring, Maryland.   2, 3. submitted on June 18, 2015.   4. submitted on June 9, 2015, by Allen C. Browne of Silver Spring, Maryland.   5. submitted on June 18, 2015.   6, 7, 8, 9. submitted on June 9, 2015, by Allen C. Browne of Silver Spring, Maryland. • Andrew Ruppenstein was the editor who published this page.
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