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The Tree and The Train — high-speed rail may threaten heritage tree (VIDEO)

By Doug Ray | 3 Nov 2010

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It is believed that, when Gaspar de Portola discovered San Francisco Bay in 1769, he camped under El Palo Alto. (Photo: Doug Ray)

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Local residents are concerned that the California High Speed Rail project will negatively change their way of life, and an icon of this anguish is the El Palo Alto tree, which stands in the way of the proposed project’s path.

Residents of Palo Alto and other local communities fear high-speed rail will destroy their “Heritage Tree,” the second site listed as a California Historic Landmark.

El Palo Alto, the namesake and symbol of Palo Alto, California and Stanford University, is a vulnerable Coastal Redwood that has lived on the banks of San Francisquito Creek for over a millennium. It has been an important geographical marker for the area since before the arrival of settlers.

Human impacts of the last 150 years brought the El Palo Alto tree to the brink of destruction, but El Palo Alto has bounced back and is now thriving.

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