A driver in California recently shocked TikTokers by damaging a beloved monument on camera.
The Shrine Drive Thru Tree in Humboldt Redwoods State Park is an iconic redwood tree popular with tourists and nearby residents. It was hollowed out by a fire more than 100 years ago and more recently widened to make it possible to drive through the living trunk — first with horse-drawn carts and later with cars.
The opening is only 7 feet wide, according to the park’s website. That’s a tight squeeze for many vehicles, and drivers have to take care not to harm their cars or the tree by scraping the sides on the way through.
TikToker MsOC (@oclaguna999) recently shared a video of someone who failed to do so.
The driver, who has California plates, can be seen in the video taking a silver Nissan SUV through the gap in the tree. Unfortunately, they ran the passenger side of the car into the tree, making an audible cracking noise.
Although the driver is seen clapping after he finally gets the car through, the celebration seems out of touch. The passenger’s side mirror is hanging off the car, and of course, the impact probably wasn’t healthy for the tree.
California’s incredible coastal redwoods are among the tallest trees in the world, according to National Geographic. The mature trees in the area are hundreds or even thousands of years old. Trees like these are irreplaceable, and potential damage might be devastating.
This issue seems even more serious at a time when the world’s old-growth forests are under threat. Deforestation in the Amazon may destroy the entire rainforest — and that forest is vital to humanity because it supplies so much of the world’s oxygen. Damaging these ancient trees could harm our ability to breathe in the future.
Many commenters were deeply upset by the video.
“The wholesale disregard for nature is so sad,” said one user. “We have very few of these giants left in California … Damaging the poor tree just to drive through? Crazy.”
“I never understood driving through,” another said. “Get out and walk around, those trees are so [majestic] to see in person.”
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