Photograph of a stagecoach passing under a tunnel cut through a large sequoias tree in Mariposa Grove, Yosemite National Park, California, ca.1900. The stagecoach, pulled by four horses, is carrying about five passengers and a driver. They are stopped at about midway out of the tree's manmade tunnel. The forest looms in the background.; "Walking today through the Mariposa Grove, where Muir and Roosevelt discussed conservation by campfire, one comes across a giant sequoia lying on its side. It is the Wawona Tunnel Tree, a sober reminder of past sacrifices to the gods of recreation. In 1881, Henry Washburn of the Wawona Hotel Company paid two men to hollow out the base of this glorious monarch, 26 feet in diameter, so that people could drive through in their stagecoaches. Tunneling out the trunk, however, cut into the tree's expansive but shallow root system. The Wawona tree had survived epic fires and the weathering of more than 20 centuries. But in the winter of 1969, the giant finally toppled from the weight of snow--and our need for gimmicks. The National Park Service disavows such crass amusements now, but as long as the agency remains federally run, and federally funded, it must at least bend to the will of the people." -- Alex Hawes.