Fallen 1500-Year-Old Redwood: Tell Us What to Do With It?

By Jo-Ann Kaiser | Posted: 11/04/2011 4:06PM


A tree falling in the forest usually isn't news, unless the tree happens to be a 1,500 year-old Giant Sequoia that comes to rest in the middle of a frequently-used hiking path.

The U.S. Forest Service reported that the tree fell Sept. 30, 2011 across the Trail of 100 Giants, "a popular recreation site in the Sequoia National Forest and Giant Sequoia National Monument" featuring an accessible paved path of roughly 1.3 miles with several loop options and interpretive signs.

The U.S. Forest Service temporarily closed the path to clear debris and assess the situation.  It reopened but the question remains, what to do with the fallen Sequoia?  Have a creative solution? Woodworking Network would like to hear it.

We'll publish the best responses. And take your time: the tree is already getting snowed on, and the Forest Service says nothing will happen until the thaw.


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About the Author

Jo-Ann Kaiser

Jo-Ann Kaiser

Jo-Ann Kaiser has been covering the woodworking industry for 31+ years. She is a contributing editor for the Woodworking Network and has been writing the Wood of the Month column since its inception in 1986.

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hh hermann    
Catskill Mountains, NY  |  November, 09, 2011 at 06:07 AM

Build a bridge/steps over it

Florida  |  November, 09, 2011 at 06:27 AM

sell it to the highest bidder so it doesn't go to waste and can be made into something. Then use that money to pay down the national debt !!!

Kentucky  |  November, 09, 2011 at 06:31 AM

Leave it there cut the tree so the path can go thru it, or make wooden benches for people to sit and enjoy the scenery.

Ed Strahota    
St. Charles, IL  |  November, 09, 2011 at 07:25 AM

I can appreciate the sentiment of those who want to have the tree remain, and for it to naturally decay (http://dailynightly.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2011/11/03/8621758-what-happens-when-a-1500-year-old-tree-falls). However, if that tree were to be lumbered, and the trunk cut as clean as it could be, it could be both educational and resourceful. The stump could be a living legend of growth rings, and the lumber could even be used for park building construction. They could partner with a mill to lumber the tree in exchange for usable timber. Put people to work building a memorial for the fallen tree, and educate in the process!

Clay Baker    
Chesapeake, VA  |  November, 09, 2011 at 07:28 AM

Tree's fall, just cust the part out where the path is, and leave it there, let nature take its course. Why do we have to do anyting to it. Leave it be. Fallen trees is something you would expect to see in a forest.

Denis Hermecz    
Silverhill, AL  |  November, 09, 2011 at 07:37 AM

Redesign the trail to feature the fallen tree. Looks like it will be there for a while.

iowa  |  November, 09, 2011 at 08:00 AM

Just take and cut or notch out a walk way thru it that way hikers can really get and ideal how big these trees really are

RED LION, PA.  |  November, 09, 2011 at 10:36 AM

Create a tunnel at the path and salvage the wood. Subcontract the wood to a woodworker to produce pens, iPad,iPod covers,etc. Sell those products at the Park to provide revenue.

Wayne Wiltzius    
Michigan  |  November, 09, 2011 at 10:40 AM

Wood is a renewable resource and should be used and not left to waste away. You already have a nature trail so people can see the beauty of the trees. We have too much waste in the world now.

Houston  |  November, 09, 2011 at 04:15 PM

Win/win scenario. Determine the fair market value by auction. If the leave-it-lay people value it as a park feature, they can buy it and donate it back to the park!

B. Ames    
66937  |  November, 09, 2011 at 05:10 PM

Cut to allow the path through it, smooth one side and, counting rings out from the center, indicate significant events at the corresponding ring. (Protected from the idiot vandals, if possible.)

Leroy Moldenhauer    
Berlin,WI.  |  November, 09, 2011 at 07:52 PM

I could use a chunk of it to create something great.

lee harris    
Madison, GA  |  November, 09, 2011 at 09:31 PM

I suggest it be turned into small baseball bat and classroom paddles to knuckle knock and butt warm the beaurocrats that will line up at state and federal legislative sessions to call for an environmental impact statement to determine what BRANCH of the government gets to pass a bill to empower union road and maintainance groups to grind it into mulch for some endangered species. The Taxpayer

Winterville, NC  |  November, 10, 2011 at 05:29 PM

USFS mantra is "multiple use". Do everything. Preserve part of it for educational purposes. Remove some portion that is obstructing the hiking trail. Sell most at auction if deemed profitable, ie can be reclaimed without the expense of an environmental impact statment and so forth. Keep It Simple Sam. Uncle Sam, that is.

missouri  |  November, 11, 2011 at 08:22 AM

Sell the lumber to the highest bidder and give the income to the State of California they certainly need it for new State Courthouses?

Ecowood Displays    
Sonoma, CA  |  November, 11, 2011 at 11:09 AM

Given the opportunity, we would harvest the wood to be used in park construction projects with smaller dimensions used in interior and furnishing projects. The material fall down from that can be used to manufacturer souvenirs that would benefit the Sequoia Parks Foundation. And of course, we would plant 1500 new trees to honor the life of this one.

Watkinsville, GA  |  November, 11, 2011 at 11:59 AM

With part of the wood, I'd suggest large bas relief carvings depicting famous park scenes. Something on the lines of the Wall in the Wilderness project: http://www.thewalltasmania.com/indexms.html As Ecowood Displays suggests, much of the lumber could be used for construction projects, but it could also be used for interior trim. It could also be used for interior furnishings such as chairs, benches, tables, and doors. There's so much wood there that even the smallest pieces could be used. If I had some I'd make small gift items such as pens, pencils, ornaments, miniature birdhouses, small boxes, bowls... I could go on and on. If you distributed this to AAW turning clubs around the US, or woodworking clubs around the US, I'm sure they'd come up with all kinds of ways to memorialize this tree. Letting it rot where it lies seems to be a poor way to memorialize a tree that's lived 1500 years... Let those with vision and creativity create some lasting memorial for a legend like this Sequoia.

Rick Parker    
Candor ny  |  November, 11, 2011 at 08:34 PM

Carve scenes along the length of the tree. Hollow out portions of the tree to create new path through the tree. Create a tree house. Build a bridge over it. Create a lookout. Put a resting room inside..... Museum depicting inspirational messages. Selling it would only give it to people in the rich. presently we all own it.

George Schichtel    
Selma NC  |  November, 25, 2011 at 07:42 PM

Redwood is in short supply and very expensive I believe that it should be sawn and donated to woodworking clubs and associatiions with a stipulation that a certain number of new members must be generated this way we pass on our knowledge and we have material to work and teach with

Scott Wunder    
St. Louis, MO  |  December, 28, 2011 at 09:18 PM

As a woodworker and sawyer, my first instinct is to cut it up, use it for something, don't let it go to waste. At the same time there is another part of me that has finally come to accept the fact that I can't cut every tree that falls (even though I try). Assuming that there are no other trees this size laying in the woods within easy reach of mortal humans, I say let it go. I don't like this as a policy for all trees, but this one is different because of its size and age. It is down on its own, no logger or sawmill is to blame, and that is rare. Although I am dying to cut into that tree myself, I begrudgingly recommend that a lumber-length chunk be cut out (milled, of course) to clear the path, and that rest of the tree should be left as a monument. Standing trees are impressive, but trees on the ground give the viewer a true feel for the size. Being able to count the rings, stand next to the end cut, and walk the full length of the trunk this size is something that almost no one has done. This tree, the way it is and not milled into furniture, is rare. I calmly, and with a deep breath say, "Let it go, just let it go".


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