We hope that you all have been safe and healthy in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic and that the budding spring is bringing you joy. Here at The Forest Conservation Burial Ground, we believe that every day is Earth Day. That is why we're committed to doing our part to protect, conserve, and renew our land for future generations.
To provide a space to reconnect our human experience of life and death with land conservation. We are achieving this by offering natural burial in reciprocity with the living landscape—reinforcing the vital connection between ourselves, one another, and the natural world.
Reciprocity is the practice of exchanging with others for a shared benefit. It is mutual dependence, action, and influence—and we believe it is the bedrock of cultural resilience and sustainability. We aim to reflect this reciprocity in our actions and choices, both in life and in death.
What is Natural or 'Green' Burial?
Natural, or green burial is essentially the way humans have been buried for centuries leading up to our modern-day conventional practices of embalming and burying with concrete, metal, or plastic.
In a natural burial, a person is buried without embalming, without the use of grave-liners or vaults, and only using materials that are biodegradable such as shrouds and native-wood caskets. The body is buried only 3 feet deep, rather than 6 feet deep, as this allows the soil microbes to benefit.
To put it simply, natural burial is just that:
Designed to support the reunion of human bodies with nature as effectively and completely as possible.
Oregon's First Dedicated Natural Burial Ground
The Forest is proud to be the first dedicated natural burial ground in the state of Oregon! We take all of the goodness of natural burial in a traditional cemetery and apply it to the entire environment rather than keeping it to just a few isolated sites amongst other conventional graves.
We believe in conservation, and intend to protect this land—as a whole living entity—with a conservation easement. This means that burial fees will go back into upholding our values of conservation, restoration, and management of the soil, forests, and wetlands.
We promise that:
The land will be protected against future development, forever.
The plants and soil will be cared for without pesticides and herbicides.
Wildlife and natural flora and fauna will be supported, always.
We will uphold practices that reflect the utmost care of the ecosystem.
And most importantly:
Our community will always have a beautiful and inspirational place to come to pay tribute to those who came before us—for generations to come.
Our Setting: Willow-Witt Ranch
The Forest is situated on 18.4 acres of the 445-acre Willow-Witt Ranch, a private in-holding within the expanded Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument in Southern Oregon's high country, 30 minutes from Ashland.
Since 1985, Willow-Witt Ranch has been proud to be a good steward of this unique ecosystem. We work daily to enhance the health of our land, water, and air and to provide organically produced food, products and services for the local community.
Green burial simply makes sense here. Life is vibrant and the seasons pass amid mature conifers, oaks, native shrubs, grasses, and wildflowers. Burial sites overlook meadows and seasonal wetlands. Paths and trails wind through the cemetery, inviting us to pause, listen to the wind in the trees, watch the birds, and spend time with nature.
A Few Things That Make The Forest Special:
The Forest supports funeral services and ceremonies that are deep, intimate, and personalized.
Family and friends can be involved participants rather than solely onlookers.
People of all faiths, identities, and walks of life and can come together in shared honor of the experiences we hold together, and shared reverence for the space that holds us.
Our dedicated natural burial grounds are meant to be shared with the living.
A NOTE ON CREMATED REMAINS
Cremation is the method of disposition that some people feel suits them best. Our cemetery supports the interment of cremated remains in biodegradable urns, or scattering.
Many people who chose cremation are influenced by economic factors, and we encourage you to check the actual average costs of cremation on the west coast to better decide if it is right for you.
We are so excited to open The Forest to our community, soon. Please stay tuned, and we will let you know when we officially begin on-site tours. We will continue to monitor the COVID-19 pandemic in order to determine when it will be safe to host community gatherings.
When we can safely open, we will host a celebration in gratitude of nature, and would love to have you join us. In the meantime, please take a virtual tour.
Stay safe and be well. In gratitude, The Forest Conservation Burial Ground
Willow-Witt Ranch is dedicated to the conservation and restoration of a unique ecosystem in the Southern Cascades, and the headwaters, wetlands, and forests that arise there. We provide education on the values of ecology and of the complex web of food and environment by operating a small certified organic farm and Farm Stay accommodations.