Our mission is 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.
The Forest Conservation Burial Ground at Willow-Witt Ranch is dedicated exclusively to natural burial of whole human bodies or cremated remains. The property is stewarded and conserved for ecosystem health and function and The Forest is dedicated as a cemetery in perpetuity. A main tenet of natural (or green) burial is that all living things belong to one community—the land. We strive to restore humans’ ties to the Earth. The basis of this cemetery is inclusivity. We believe the acceptance and furthering of conservation burial practices through inclusivity is our mission and our duty. We accept and treat the remains of all people with respect. We feel our role is service, just as a physician treats those who come to her, without prejudgment, and we hold the information and emotions of the bereaved in strictest confidence.
More information on our policies is available by private consultation.
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.
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 the land, water, and air and to provide education and certified organic food for our local communities. We strive to promote the health of ourselves, our employees and the community.
The land selected for The Forest has mature conifers and oaks, native shrubs, grasses, and wildflowers. Burial sites overlook meadows and seasonal wetlands. Paths and trails wind through the cemetery. Green burials are a natural fit in this serene setting. Natural burial grounds are living landscapes, meant to be shared with the living.
The Forest opened in late June 2020, with our first burial. This project is advised by the Conservation Burial Alliance. We are in the process of becoming a certified natural burial ground with the Green Burial Council.
The land is a private in-holding within the expanded Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument. Owners Suzanne Willow and Lanita Witt see the green cemetery as an extension of their 30+ years of work to restore the forests and wetlands of their 445-acre ranch. They plan to be buried there and recognize that many other people are committed to the natural integrity of land in our unique ecosystem and wish their own burials to support their lifelong ecological values. The Forest Conservation Burial Ground may appeal to them.
While there are cemeteries that allow ‘green’ burials among their conventional graves, this is the first burial ground in Oregon that is dedicated completely to green burial.
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