Remember earlier this year when we reported on the fiery end to the "Senator", a 3500-year-old cypress tree in Seminole County? It was the centerpiece of Big Tree Park near Longwood, and was a tourist attraction long before the states' theme parks.
Now authorities have charged a 26-year-old meth addict with setting the fire. Beth Kassab, a columnist for the Orlando Sentinel, says it's a sad but unsurprising outcome to a long history of neglect:
There was no concerted effort to stop the mischief that went on there after dark. No security cameras. No lights. Cursory patrols. Only a fence around The Senator's base, and apparently not a very good one considering what happened in January.
Now The Senator joins Florida's long, sorry list of afterthoughts. Things we wish we had protected when we had the chance: the dusky seaside sparrow before Central Florida boomed. The Everglades before Big Sugar. The beaches before condominiums. Lake Apopka before muck farms.
You can read the entire article here.