When I drove out to Great Basin National Park, I passed by and saw the Shoe Tree. It really is a big tree with pairs of shoes caught in the branches. Over the years people who passed by would tie a pair of shoes together and toss them up into the branches. There were hundreds of pairs of shoes in the tree (and many more on the ground from failed attempts) when I visited.
Despite the fact that an interesting and quirky landmark is gone, there really aren't too many trees in that part of Nevada. It really is shameful that someone felt the need to chop it down.
Here is an article about the tree from the Nevada tourism site, which includes several local legends about how the tree got its start:
And here is some of the media coverage of it: