Why was the famous Joliet Champion Tree cut down? - KULR8.com | News, Weather & Sports in Billings, Montana

Why was the famous Joliet Champion Tree cut down?

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JOLIET, Mont. -

In 2012 a narrowleaf cottonwood tree was named the largest in the nation. As of this week, the tree no longer stands.

Off highway 212 are the remains of what used to be an American Forests National Big Tree Champion.

The property owner said he understands why people are upset, but he has a reason.

A car wash will soon stand on the plot of land where the tree was located.

The landowner said he knows how much the tree meant to the community and he wishes he could have kept it. The problem is, after a close inspection, he found out the tree was rotting on the inside.

If a rotting tree on his property happens to fall, he could be held liable. Also, once the car wash is built, the property owner said it would be more difficult and more expensive to remove the tree.

Some local residents may be upset the tree that put Joliet on the map is gone, but not all hope is lost.

In 2013, cuttings of the tree were taken, cloned and replanted in riverfront park. So the tree's legacy lives on. 

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