It’s hard to imagine that one of the country’s most beautiful college campuses was ever a dusty and desolate eyesore, but for the University of Idaho, the story is true. When newly hired forestry professor Charles Houston Shattuck joined the faculty at the University of Idaho in 1909, the campus was barren and rough. Unlike the lush and varied landscapes that greet visitors today, in the early years the university grounds were often described as "lonesome" and "oppressive." In the spring of 1910 Shattuck organized his forestry department students to plant trees throughout a neglected and weed-covered corner of the campus. These trees became what is now the Charles Houston Shattuck Arboretum and is one of the most unique aspects of the campus.
Home to dozens of different varieties of trees, the Shattuck Arboretum sits on 14 acres located between the administration building, the president's residence, and the university golf course. There are several entrances and multiple parking options, including some ADA parking spots. It is a popular destination for day hikers, trail runners, bird watchers, and nature lovers. The arboretum is one of the oldest university plantings in the Western United States and boasts rare specimens such as American Beech, English Maple, and a Giant Sequoia that is over 100 years old. While the Shattuck Arboretum is a haven for rare and unusual species, it’s also constantly being shaped and altered as needed. In 2016 approximately 50 trees had to be removed to ward off an attack from the destructive mountain pine beetle.
Visitors to the Shattuck Arboretum can find helpful maps at the entrances or look them up online before their trip. The dirt trails are maintained and cleared for hikers and runners of all ages and two art installations are located along the trail. The east end of the arboretum is home to the World War I Memorial Grove, a cluster of spruce trees planted in honor of the 32 University of Idaho students killed in WWI. The adjacent Shattuck Amphitheater is a popular location for summertime barbeques, concerts, weddings, and parties. Arboretum guests could easily spend several hours exploring the grounds and observing the various plantings, or simply spend a few minutes communing with nature between classes.♦