Thursday, March 30, 2023

Fire Destroys an Iconic, Two-Hundred Foot, Old Growth Redwood Tree in Marin County

Firefighters working to tamp the flames within the Pioneer Tree [All pictures provided by CSP’

A legendary old-growth redwood known as the Pioneer Tree located in Marin County’s Samuel P. Taylor State Park fell to the earth yesterday after a vegetation fire engulfed the behemoth in flames.

A press release from the California State Parks quoted Director Armando Quintero saying, “I saw the collapsed tree in person and know how much it pains all of us who treasure these ancient giants who have lived thousands of years.”

The vegetation fire was reported in Samuel P. Taylor State Park yesterday before noon. Firefighters successfully contained the fire to one-half acre, no one was hurt nor evacuated, but the iconic, old-growth fell.

The press release explains the Pioneer Tree was particularly vulnerable to the flames having been hollowed out by previous wildfires. It had withstood the damage of those other fires by younger redwood trees that actively nourished its root system.

Samuel P. Taylor State Park bears the name of a New York man who arrived in California drawn by dreams of gold in 1849. With riches gained panning for gold, Taylor bought one-hundred acres in Marin County and opened a paper mill, the first on the West Coast.

Before Taylor and the Spanish that he bought the land from, the land was the ancestral home of the Miwok indigenous people for nearly 3,000 to 4,000 years.

As a result of yesterday’s fire, the Pioneer Tree Trail is temporarily closed and the State Parks is advising the public to “stay clear of the area. The rest of the park remains open.”



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Matt LaFever
Matt LaFever
I like to think of myself as a reporter for the Average Joe. Journalism has become a craft defined largely by city dwellers on America's coasts. It’s time to take it back. I have been an Emerald Triangle resident since 2006 and this is year ten in Mendocino County. Please, email me at if you know a story that needs to be told.

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