Giant sequoia tree at downtown post office will be dedicated on Arbor Day, April 28

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By Reggie Ellis @Reggie_SGN

VISALIA – The City of Visalia will solidify its legacy as a Gateway to the Sequoias this Saturday by dedicating one of the few giant sequoia trees located on the Valley floor.

Located at the southeast corner of Acequia Avenue and Locust Street at the downtown Visalia Post Office, the Sequoia Legacy Tree will be dedicated at 9 a.m. on April 28 in observance of Arbor Day and in celebration of the ties between Visalia and Sequoia National Park. 

Suzanne Bianco, Tourism and Marketing Manager for the Visalia Convention and Visitors Bureau (VCVB), said the project, titled “The Sequoia Legacy Tree,” will create an outdoor exhibit to educate both tourists and local children about Visalia’s unique neighbors to the east. The square lot will open with a sweeping path covered in permeable material that will surround the tree. Along the path will be wayside signs that will talk about the history of the tree, Visalia’s connection to the formation of Sequoia National Park, the Sequoiadendron giganteum species, and water conservation. There will even be a demonstration garden sponsored by the Visalia division of California Water Service.

The tree was planted by former Sequoia National Park Superintendent Guy Hopping and former Visalia Postmaster Nathan Levy. In February 1936, Hopping, who was superintendent of General Grant National Park (as it was known then) and Levy, planted a pair of sequoia trees on either side of the Downtown Visalia Post Office. The trees, a mere 3 years old at the time of planting, were provided by Hopping to the Post Master and came from the Grant Grove of trees up in the Park. Hopping spent his winters occupying an office in the basement of the beautiful art-deco post office and thought the trees would be a visual symbol of the collaboration between the two agencies and would bring a bit of the National Parks to Visalia. The tree is already among the tallest things in downtown despite being just 82 years old. A 36-foot wide ring of rocks will surround the base of the tree to represent the General Sherman Tree in order to provide the scope of how large sequoias tree can grow.

A wooden sign imitating those used by the National Park Service will be used to mark the Sequoia Legacy Tree and the exhibits surrounding the tree will look similar to the 2-by-3-foot signs used in the national parks. While the project was approved by the Visalia City Council more than two years ago, it has been completely funded by donations from individuals, community agencies and the willingness of a few very generous volunteers who contributed their services to make it come together, particularly Matt Seals with Seals Construction and Kay Hutmacher with Sierra Designs, Inc.

“Although the tree on the east side of the building was removed in the 1980s due to poor health, the surviving tree stands as a symbol of the strong relationship Visalia still enjoys with its mountain neighbors,” read the invitation to the dedication. 

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