The Calaveras North Grove was a popular, easily accessible destination for tourists starting as early as the late 1950s. As the roads to Yosemite improved, Yosemite Valley and the nearby redwood groves began to attract increasing numbers of visitors. Because of this competition, when the Wawona Tunnel Tree in Yosemite was carved out in the late 1800s, the owners of the North Grove responded by doing the same to this tree.
The pioneer cabin tree was chosen because of its extremely wide base and large fire scar. Because of the huge cut, this tree can no longer support the growth of a top, which you can see lying on the ground if you walk through the tunnel. The opening also has reduced the ability of the tree to resist fire. A few branches bearing green foliage tell us that this tree is still managing to survive.