Conservation Burial Program

Photo looking upward into the tree canopy.

Developing a New Conservation Burial Program

In early 2021, the Land Trust’s Board of Directors granted approval for the Land Trust to move forward in creating a conservation burial program.

For a number of years, we’ve been investigating the potential for creating a conservation burial program here in Jefferson County. A working committee made up of board members, volunteers, and staff members has been researching and analyzing various aspects of conservation burial models and seeking community feedback to gauge interest.

Big Leaf Maple on Chimacum Ridge by Robert Tognoli

Wildland cemeteries and memorial forests are places where family and friends can go to honor and remember a loved one in a natural setting. Photo by Robert Tognoli.

Wildland cemeteries and memorial forests are places where family and friends can go to honor and remember a loved one in a natural setting. Over time, we plan to incorporate both of these models in our conservation burial program.

Through their research, the working committee found that land trust involvement with conservation burial programs have multiple benefits, including advancing land conservation, serving the greater community, and creating an additional revenue stream for conservation and stewardship. These benefits, combined with strong community interest, prompted the committee to recommend that we move forward with our own program.

There are a number of reasons why conservation burial programs are a good fit for land trusts. Protecting land, and often restoring and caring for it forever, is at the heart of what we do. And that long-term protection and care are just what wildland cemeteries and memorial forests require.

Valley View Overlook

A conservation burial program will allow the Land Trust to provide this service to our community while protecting and restoring land.

The conservation burial program will be another conservation and restoration tool that will help us restore land that has been disturbed, return it to a natural state, and keep it natural and open forever. The proceeds from conservation burials will be used to restore and maintain the wildland cemetery and memorial forest properties and also to advance future conservation work throughout Jefferson County.

Next Steps:

  • Create a subsidiary organization to oversee the conservation burial program and appoint a board of managers.
  • Identify potential wildland cemetery and memorial forest properties appropriate for these activities.
  • Seek funding necessary to purchase property and launch the program.

Want to Stay Informed?

Please fill out this form to let us know you’re interested in learning more about the Land Trust’s conservation burial program as it continues to develop.

Definitions:

Wildland Cemetery: A wildland cemetery has dual purposes: providing a final resting place and improving the health and beauty of the land. At a wildland cemetery, green burial methods are used. For instance, no embalming chemicals are used and all burial materials are biodegradable. Generally, properties selected for this purpose are in need of rehabilitation. They are then rewilded, restored to a natural state, and protected as a cemetery in perpetuity.

Memorial Forest: A memorial forest is a designated area of a natural woodland for returning cremated remains to the earth. A forest property is selected (often one in need of care and management), is purchased, and then the land is protected in perpetuity.