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The Mendocino County Treehouse That Is the Stuff of Dreams

Sid Cooperrider’s magnificent treehouse, a Mendocino County dream come true [All photographs provided by Sid Cooperrider]

Sid Cooperrider, one of the former owners of the Ukiah Brewing Company, has built the Taj Mahal of treehouses on his property off of Orr Springs Road. Built within the center of a fairy ring, Cooperrider’s treehouse ascends 85 feet supported by seven different redwood trees including seven different floors.

Cooperrider told us in 2012 he sold Ukiah Brewing Company and was “blowing his money” on Ukiah rent prices and figured he would move to his parent’s land on Orr Springs Road with free rent and close proximity to his family. 

Once there, he took up residence in a century-old cabin where his parents live 100-yards away, and he began to “work the land.” Chainsawing and digging and clearing brush, Cooperrider found himself standing at the foot of a fairy ring of seven redwoods.

For those not fluent in redwood speak, a fairy ring is a circle of redwoods grown around the stump of a former old-growth tree. After the old growth is cut, a new generation of trees arises from the roots of the fallen redwood creating an enclosure 

He told us he took one look at the ring and said to himself, “I should build something here.” 

And so it began. In 2015, Cooperrider explained he first built a platform at the base of the fairy circle, making sure to include 7”-11” stairs, the standard rise and run for stair construction. 

That first platform, Cooperrider recalls, was designed to make sure his “mom and dad can walk to the top.” An essential step in ensuring the tree house’s accessibility for his mom and dad was strict adherence to the 7”-11” structure and making sure all the steps were even.

Lumber for his tree house, Cooperrider explained, came from old-growth redwood left on his property and soft-wood pallets he arranged with a buddy in town to use. 

After the first platform was built, Cooperrider said he was inspired to “follow the trees” which led to the staircase ascending to the second level being constructed on the outside of the fairy ring.

At this point, Cooperrider’s creation rises seven floors deep in the crown of the fairy ring with each having railing to keep occupants safe and secure.

Thinking back on his labors, Cooperrider said he has done all the work himself, except for two days where a buddy came and helped. 

He has yet to install any roof on his treehouse because “it’s just so nice at the top to have it open to look up and see the sky in the summer.”

Unlike popular television shows such as Treehouse Guys and Treehouse Masters, who build “super fancy houses that are built around super fancy trees,” Cooperrider said his construction is building directly into the redwood trees themselves. He does not think his treehouse will impede their growth, being primarily within the center of the fairy ring, giving the trees plenty of room to grow upward and outward. Cooperrider did mention the redwoods seem “bluer” than those nearby that he suggested was the result of having metal bolts in their flanks.

Cooperrider has visions of installing a bar on the third level and piping up nearby spring water. Near the fairy circle, Cooperider said the “land sort of makes an amphitheater shape” and hopes to dig it out, install benches and create an intimate venue where local artists, poets, and musicians can share their art.

In the summers, Cooperrider sleeps in his treehouse, swaying in the breeze amongst the whisper of redwood needles. He spoke of guests coming to stay in his treehouse, enchanted by it, later bringing their friends to experience life in the heart of a redwood.

A home in the heart of a redwood tree could be the setting of a childhood story. One Mendocino County resident, using a brute do-it-yourself attitude and the ganas to take on the challenge, has brought dreams to life. 

Categories: News

16 replies »

  1. Did he get building permits & inspections? Is this not an extreme fire hazard? If the lower levels were on fire how would occupants above escape? Seems like an accident waiting to happen to me.

  2. Nice tree house Sid, way to build something real
    Crazy how people can get so old and grouchy they will somehow have hatred towards a tree house. You all need to lighten up.

  3. Your treehouse is beautiful! Great job! You are very creative with a wonderful imagination. Your future plans are just as creative as your treehouse. Go for it!!

  4. Could you interview the parents? Would love to capture some of their perspective….that’s always cool. Have they actually climbed up
    In it and hung out? Are they artists as well? Etc

  5. Love you SID!!! I still kick myself in the but on not being able to be apart of that one!! Mb I can help when you start on other parts later when you work more on it!!

  6. Dateline Ukiah CA 04-01-2024:

    Borgenspoon Law LLC of Ukiah announced today the filing of a lawsuit against CalFire, Mendocino County Building and Planning Dept., the Mendocino County Board of Supervisors and Mr. Bill D.Stickly, head of MCBP dept. The suit, according to Borgenspoon principal Stanislaus Borgenspoon seeks to nullify the misdemeanor charges of construction without a permit, environmental pollution (disposing of raw sewage on open ground), Holding a public event without permit, endangering the public safety and welfare, and multiple zoning violations as well as the felony charges of second degree manslaughter, corporal injury to a peace officer/emergency responder, as well as the eminent domain claim by the county and state seeking to acquire the property title in full as partial restitution for expenses assumed due to the incident alleged to have started on or about September 13th 2023 on his clients property, a one Mr. Sidney Coopertire as well as Mr. Coopertire’s parents who allegedly hold title to the property in question.

    In a news conference announcing the suit, Mr Borgenspoon stated “These frivolous charges against my client will be proven misplaced as we believe we can prove in court that the liability for the unfortunate incident rests completely with the Mendocino County dept. of Building and Planning, and specifically Mr. Stickly due to their gross negligence in failing to act in a timely and appropriate manner to reverse, or even inform my client of, the minimal infractions allegedly to have occurred on my clients property. “Had my client been aware of any violations of any environmental or health and safety codes on his Mommy and Daddy’s property my client would have acted immediately, in the interest of public safety to rectify these alleged violations, had he only known. “But apparently the County couldn’t be bothered to inform my client in anything resembling a rational time frame, which unfortunately not only contributed to, but we believe is the primary cause of the unfortunate events of last September. “We believe Mr. Stickly, on or after January 3, 2022, knew, or should have known, about about these alleged violations on my clients property due to my clients incredibly poor judgement in allowing pictures of an alleged “tree house” to be published in a widely read and well respected local internet publication, yet never informed my client of alleged violations, and therefore bears the burden of responsibility for the unfortunate death and mayhem of September last year”.

    As some readers will remember, on the evening of September 13th of last year multiple reports of fire started coming in to local agencies regarding “The tree house is on fire!”, “It’s going up like a fucking roman candle!!”, ” Burning Hippies everywhere!”, “It’s raining pallets!”, “My God, the weed! Not the weeeeed!!!”, and other rather more colorful exclamations of disaster unfolding as heard on 911 tapes recently released to the public. Ukiah reporter Mitch laBeouf, uncannily on scene as the first responders arrived, reported ” People are streaming down the road, many in shock, some with burned clothes or hair, moaning or mumbling incoherently, escaping the apparent conflaguration just ahead”. LaBeouf asked a stunned passerby what happened: “The band was playing off a generator with18 gauge extension cords. “the gennie fuel was right there. “So was the weed for the raffle. “We were doing a benefit for the Comptche VFD ’cause, you know, fire. “Next thing I know people burning, running screaming into the woods. “One ran up the tree house stairs for no apparent reason, got to the top, busted through the rail and flew, like a Phoenix, straight down into the bongo circle people. “Man, I never knew dreadlocks could burn like that. “Do you think that’s why they call it a “flight” of stairs?”. As a side note, apparently Mr. LaBeouf knew personally many of the more disoriented and less talkative persons leaving the scene, as he was heard saying things such as “How’s it going Jorge?” and “What’s up Karen?” and the like to those evacuees staring dumbly at him as he live streamed.

    This case has been assigned to the Superior Court docket of Julia “jaws” Dinklewimper in the fall. Ms. Dinklewimper is notorious for finding for the government in cases regarding public clusterf**king, gross negligence and defendants claiming ignorance. Stay tuned.

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