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High winds topple trees near Cooper Park—but don't worry, they won't go to waste

The sudden wind gusts took down at least two trees, sending one right on top of a resident's vehicle below.
Posted at 5:57 PM, Apr 05, 2024

BOZEMAN — Bozeman city forestry workers had a busy morning after Thursday night’s unexpectedhigh wind gusts left downed trees near Cooper Park.

Residents woke on this calm, sunny Friday to multiple trees that had fallen in the night after unexpected winds hit the Cooper Park neighborhood.

Footage of the event was sent in by a viewer, taken at 3 a.m. Thursday morning.

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At least two trees fell, one of them falling on top of a vehicle parked on 6th Street.

Parks and Recreation Director Mitch Overton says Bozeman’s forestry department manages about 27,000 trees, overseeing disposal and planting.

"We have inventoried every one of those trees throughout the city. And they can actually be found on a GIS mapper on bozeman.net. You can see the trees in front of you, the species, condition, when it was last worked on. So that’s all there for the public to view," Overton says.

When I arrived at the scene, Bozeman forestry workers were removing a tree that had split. NorthWestern Energy was working on the powerline below. Residents reported outages at the time of the incident.

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Some trees at Cooper Park are over 100 years old, lining the streets of Bozeman’s largest historic residential district. But don’t worry, they don’t go to waste when they fall.

Overton says, "These trees, once we remove limbs or the entire tree, and then we run them through a woodchipper and grind them up into mulch. We have two different piles of free mulch right now that are available to the public. So perfect for springtime for using on your trees or in your garden."

Overton says the city plants a minimum of 250 trees a year, not including subdivisions or special planting events. He says the city tries to maintain a 1:1 ratio of downed to planted trees each year.

"The trees are such an amazing benefit to our community. Not only do they help with stormwater retention and carbon sequestration, and all the other impacts that a growing valley like ours has—the trees help to offset those," he says.