Joggers escape close call with tree branch in Golden Gate Park

The evening sun was streaming through Golden Gate Park’s panhandle on a clear Sunday, dogs trotting happily along next to their parents.

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Then I heard fire crackers and an earthy boom, and saw people running toward something a few hundred feet ahead of me. As I got closer I saw the massive chunk of a tree that had fallen right onto the exercise path.

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“We heard the tree cracking, and we knew it was gonna come down,” said SF resident Michael Loney.

His friend called 311, a direct line to San Francisco city and county public services.

“There’s a tree that, the branch is popping, it’s gonna come down, it’s gonna come down on the trail, you need to get somebody out here to take care of it,” his friend urged.

“It’s gonna take 15 days,” was the response.

“No you don’t understand, this branch is gonna come down on the trail, and it’s gonna hit somebody, or right in front of somebody, it’s gonna cause a serious accident.”

15-90 days.

“Every 30 seconds there was a pop. Pop, pop, pop!” Loney said.

About an hour later, the massive branch’s own weight finally became too much, and it came crashing down.

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A few joggers just up the path heard the frantic cracking sound and got out of the way.

Luckily no one was hurt, so the crowd gathering around the tree joked and snapped photos.

“’What do we do about this? We have to ride our road bikes on the dirt?’” someone joked, poking fun at the flow of puzzled cyclists stopping at the tree.

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The branch fell right next to Fell Street, appropriately enough. The street was named after a Danish merchant born in 1815 though, not after the fate of a tree.

SF is quite a green city, but only God knows if this was the tree expressing its anger for having its roots paved over.

Here are some additional photos:

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