Landmark cottonwood at Washoe State Park goes to the great woodchipper in the sky
An old cottonwood tree that stood for decades at Washoe Lake State Park, and in recent years marked the Deadman’s Creek trailhead, succumbed to age and the elements Monday night, toppling to the ground.
The tree was estimated to be more than 90 years old, said Park Ranger Donna Silva.
“There have been a few stories and legends over the years about this being an old hanging tree. According to a long-time Washoe Valley family, none of these stories can be verified,” Silva said.
In the late 1990s the tree began to suffer from drought, and then in 1999, it was severely burned in the Sutro fire, she said.
“Many hazard limbs were removed after the fire, but the tree was left standing as a haven for birds and a landmark for the Deadman’s Creek trailhead,” Silva said.
Recent drought conditions contributed to its decline, but the combination of saturated soil and high winds ultimately toppled the tree Monday night.
“I miss not having the landmark tree already,” Silva said. “Yesterday as I was driving down East Lake Boulevard to the Deadman’s Creek trailhead, I drove right past the parking area and had to turn around and come back. I’m sure many others may do the same.”
All but two sections of the trunk have been removed.