The process has begun to move a century-old, 98-feet-tall sequoia tree from the grounds of St. Luke’s in Downtown Boise to a new site in nearby Fort Boise Park.
The tree, the largest of its kind in the state, will move to make way for St. Luke’s expansion.
While the timeline is subject to change, St. Luke’s has a tentative plan to move the tree overnight on Friday, June 23, and into the early hours of Saturday morning, June 24. If work proceeds as expected, the tree will be placed in its new pit during the day on Saturday.
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All this week, Crews from Environmental Design Inc., a company whose specialty is moving large trees, have been building a steel platform under the tree and building a plywood support that helps contain the roots.
Want to watch the move?
St. Luke’s is asking people to watch the process from the grass area at Fort Boise Park along the back of the ball field directly across Fort Street from the tree. Parking is limited, so those who can walk or ride a bike are asked to do so. Also, the area around St. Luke’s is a no-fly zone. Personal drones will not be allowed during the tree’s move because they pose a serious risk to Air St. Luke’s and other medical transport helicopters.
When it’s time for the tree to move across Fort Street, the road will be temporarily closed. Drivers in the area and people attending events at Fort Boise Park should allow for extra time and a detour.
More about the tree
The giant tree grew from a tiny cutting of a sequoia presented as a gift to Dr. Fred Pittenger by the conservationist Emil Grandjean, one of Idaho’s first foresters.
Pittenger’s gardener planted the sequoia around 1912 at what was then the Pittenger family estate. The Pittengers, Alice and Fred, were community leaders. They were both medical doctors.
Alice founded Camp Alice Pittenger, a Girl Scout camp still in operation in McCall, and the Children’s Home in Boise. She died in 1953. Fred served as Idaho surgeon general. He died in 1964. New owners moved the Pittenger house to Caldwell. The sequoia stayed behind.
The tree measures 20 feet, 6 inches in circumference and is 77 inches in diameter at 4 feet up the trunk.