John Colter Elementary School

Teton Country School District No. 1 announced Wednesday that it will remove 26 trees from around John Colter Elementary School, shown, and Jackson Hole High School.


Trees will come down at Jackson Hole High School and Colter Elementary School in the coming week.

Teton Country School District No. 1 announced in a Facebook post Wednesday that it will remove 26 trees around the two schools, its response to a late-July windstorm that toppled several trunks and caused minor damage at Colter.

“There are some along the roadway in front of the high school and then others on the entrance road that leads to the student parking lot that we’ll be removing,” district information coordinator Charlotte Reynolds said.

The district’s facilities maintenance department monitors trees on campuses, but it ramped up efforts following the July storm. The shallow-rooted cottonwoods that are to be removed were chosen because they could “pose a safety concern,” the Facebook post said.

The fallen trees caught the attention of at least one parent. Steve Stec, who has two children at Colter, wrote the school board before its Wednesday meeting to request that some trees be removed.

“I fear it’s only a matter of time before someone is injured (or worse) by a falling tree,” his letter read.

The 26 trees will be removed before the school year starts. Some staff have already returned to work and may be in the school buildings, but the arborists responsible for downing the trees will work after hours to minimize risk to staff.

Bringing down the trees will be one phase of the work, Reynolds said. The next will be removing the stumps and preparing the areas for new trees. The district doesn’t expect to replant before school starts and hasn’t chosen a company to perform those parts, but it is looking to choose trees that won’t pose the same problem when they mature.

“The intent is to replace what we’re taking down with something less prone to falling,” Reynolds said. “It’ll be aspen or ash or something similar. It’ll be something of size, but we’ll have to balance that with the budget.”

Contact Tom Hallberg at 732-5902 or

Tom Hallberg covers a little bit of everything, from skiing to long-form feature stories. A Teton Valley, Idaho, transplant by way of Portland and Bend, Oregon, he spends his time outside work writing fiction, splitboarding and climbing.

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