On September 10th 2002 the National Park Service cut down the Rope Swing Tree. The big machinery was brought in and the chainsaws were let loose on this healthy tree. There were shouts and screams of protest from a couple of young people who happened to be there but their cries were unheeded and soon silenced by threats of arrest.
Island member Stan and I were there to take pictures and pay our respects to this big, beautiful and very old [about 170 years] tree. The impressive limbs were cut and quickly craned out of the water onto the shore. One by one huge sections went crashing into the river sending out big waves that rocked our canoes. We looked on as if hospice workers sitting by the dying bed of a respected friend. Most of the work was done by noon with the last cut completed the following day, leaving the trunk neatly trimmed back to the riverbank. The Rope Swing Tree has been reduced to a heap and now there's a big empty hole where this mighty sycamore once lived.