Agoura Hills

Funeral to be Held for ‘Witness Tree' Damaged by Woolsey Fire

The wood from the tree, scorched by the Woolsey Fire, will be repurposed into benches, signs and other items at the ranch.

Susan Monroe

They call it the Witness Tree — a witness to the passage of time during its roughly 100 years of existence, a witness to countless visitors who have posed for photos under its branches, a witness to films shot on Paramount Ranch in Agoura Hills, a witness to history itself.

But Saturday, the sprawling Valley Oak witnesses no more. Scorched beyond recovery in the 2018 Woolsey Fire that ravaged the Santa Monica Mountains, the Witness Tree will soon be cut down — a preventive move to keep the lifeless monument from toppling.

A funeral of sorts will be held Saturday afternoon to pay tribute to the tree, one of Paramount Ranch's most famous denizens. The event is billed as a public gathering to bid farewell.

"The public is invited to say goodbye to Paramount Ranch's 'Witness Tree,' a beautiful Valley Oak that has been around for many decades and has 'witnessed' weddings, hundreds of films, special events, family photos and other memorable occasions," according to event organizers from the National Park Service.

Exactly how long the tree has been witnessing history isn't known, but NPS officials say they'll have a better idea when the tree is brought down and its interior "rings" can be counted.

Although the tree will be cut down, it won't be leaving the ranch. NPS officials say the wood from the tree "will be repurposed into benches, signs, hitching posts and other items. They will be displayed at the future Western Town, which is slated to begin construction within the next couple of
years."

Copyright CNS - City News Service
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