Climbing trees is a common thing to do when you’re a boy growing up in North Idaho, but very few young men get to carry that on into adulthood.
For Shawn Smith, climbing trees as an adult is part of normal work life for his company, CDA Stump Grinding and Tree Services. With his crew using ropes and climbing gear, taking away some of the childhood thrill of tree climbing, he ensures that safety comes first every single day.
Born and raised in Bonners Ferry, Shawn spent a lot of time in the outdoors with his family and, as a teenager, helping his dad with fire mitigation started a passion for taking care of what he considers one of the most beautiful natural resources in our area—trees.
Shawn worked as a groundsman for Dirks Tree Care while in high school, learning tricks of the trade while he was still young. After graduating BFHS in 2010, he moved to Coeur d’Alene where he was employed for Out On A Limb Tree Service as a foreman, learning more about specific climbing techniques and expanding his knowledge of pruning, caring for and maintaining the general health of trees.
He remembers being challenged to put his skills to the test when an ice storm shut down the streets in the Coeur d’Alene-Spokane corridor. With his boss out of town, Shawn and his co-worker took the initiative to just start sawing their way from one street to the next. “We couldn’t just drive to most of our jobs, so we had to cut our way there, helping people out along the way!” Shawn says.
After gaining more experience, Shawn recognized a need for stump grinding services and, in 2015, he started his own company, CDA Stump Grinding, while working in conjunction with Out On A Limb. He liked working and living in Coeur d’Alene, but it wasn’t much longer before his roots called him back to Bonners Ferry, and he returned home in 2016.
He returned to Dirks Tree Care as foreman while continuing to build his own business locally, and in the spring of 2019, Shawn went out on his own, dedicating his time solely to CDA Stump Grinding.
Shawn has steadily expanded his company, adding more services and equipment to his lineup. Along with stump grinding, he and his crew also offer tree pruning and removal, minor landscape repair, fire mitigation, masticating, lot development and light hauling. And in addition to the original stump grinder, he’s purchased a chipper, skid steer and bucket truck to do their work more efficiently and extend their capabilities.
CDA Stump Grinding offers free estimates for any size job, along with fire protection planning, forest and orchard management plans. They also offer routine maintenance—the crew recently checked and removed any dead material from the nine landmark trees around the Boundary County courthouse, keeping them healthy and safe for years to come.
Shawn and his crew move in quickly to remove damaged limbs or trees, clean up all of the mess and leave the area looking better than ever, gaining health for the remaining trees and beautifying the property for the landowner.
“My biggest satisfaction comes from seeing huge results in a short time,” says Shawn. “Our goal is to get in, get the work done and complete each job in a timely manner, and make sure we do it to each customer's satisfaction.”
Shawn takes great pride in his work, in seeing each project completed successfully and knowing that he’s doing his part as a caretaker of the beautiful trees of North Idaho. Follow CDA Stump Grinding and Tree Services on Facebook, and watch for their new website coming soon.
CDA Stump Grinding 208.946.6772 Facebook.com/CDAStumpGrinding