The towering Valley Oak at Paramount Ranch known to some as the “Witness Tree” has, unfortunately, succumbed to damage from the 2018 Woolsey Fire. National Park Service officials have invited the public to bid farewell this Saturday, February 8th, from 2 to 4PM.
The enormous native oak tree has been a part of Paramount Ranch for decades. Paramount Ranch is both a popular location for shooting film and television and a location for events and ceremonies like weddings. Even if you haven’t visited the park, there’s a solid chance you’ve seen this beautiful tree before.
Although the tree did at first seem like it was on the path to recovery following the Woolsey Fire, arborists have determined the tree will likely not recover and potentially become a safety hazard.
The Witness Tree has a diameter of 100 inches and many believe it is over 100 years old. The Park Service is inviting visitors to guess the age of the tree by emailing Public Affairs Officer Ana Cholo (include your name, address and guess of the age). The tree will be cut down in mid-February and once the rings are counted, the closest guess will receive a gift from the Santa Monica Mountains Fund.
It’s not completely the end for the Witness Tree, though. After the tree has been cut down, its wood will be used in benches, signs, and other items in the new Western Town, which will begin construction in the next few years. You can follow progress of this project and donate funds to help at the Santa Monica Mountains Fund site.