PHILOSOPHY: Natural or green burial is regarded as a statement of personal values for those who seek to minimize their impact on the local and global environment. Natural burial is available at the Burial Park in areas we refer to as WOODLANDS interment zones.
SITE PROTECTION: Woodlands interment zones are a place where individual graves become part of the local natural landscape and contribute to the environmental sustainability of the larger, community eco-system. Every Woodlands natural burial interment zone at the Burial Park – and the natural setting and eco-systems of the Woodlands and the interment sites located therein – are protected in perpetuity and cannot at any future date be converted to a conventional interment zone.
AT-NEED ASSIGNMENT ONLY: To manage and protect the restoration and reforestation process of a Woodlands eco-system, individual lot assignment in the Woodlands is only made on an at-need basis. Purchasers of pre-need interment rights in a Woodlands interment zone do not have a specific Woodlands zone or specific lot assigned to them until the time of the at-need requirement for a lot.
DIRECT EARTH BURIAL: Woodlands burial is an interment practice where human remains are returned to the earth to decompose naturally and contribute to new life. Human remains are prepared for Woodlands burial without embalming and are buried in a Burial Park approved and fully biodegradable casket or alternative container. No form of grave liner is used for Woodlands burial.
MEMORIALIZATION: The Burial Park has installed communal memorial stones for the purpose of making approved memorial inscriptions to commemorate Woodlands interments. Other than the Board installed memorial stones no other memorial marker, monument, edging or other stone, vase, ornament or any other structure is placed on, in or around any lot in a Woodlands interment zone. The Burial Park will remove any memorial product, personal item, decoration or floral tributes which do not comply with Woodlands and Burial Park Rules and Regulations.
PLANTINGS & VISITATION: Approved plantings that are placed at individual Woodlands interment sites coupled with the overall restoration and reforestation of a Woodlands ecosystem are collectively intended to become living memorials to the persons interred in Woodlands zones. As trees and plants mature and become established in Woodlands zones, visitors will be discouraged from seeking out individual graves as this will have a negative impact on the eco-system of the Woodlands. Visitors will be encouraged to use specially established memorial zones for reflection and remembrance.
PERMANENT & IRREVERSIBLE INTERMENT: Woodlands interments must be regarded as permanent and irreversible as a disinterment would be highly disruptive and damaging to the eco-system of the area as it matures. Woodlands disinterment would only be accommodated as ordered under legislation, regulation or a court order.
RULES & REGULATIONS: There are restrictions and limitations on the purchase and exercise of interment rights and on the form of approved memorial in the Woodlands interment zones. Persons who select Woodlands interment are expected, without exception, to comply with the rules and regulations of Woodlands interment zones specifically and the Burial Park generally.
NATURAL BURIAL – A HYBRID ALTERNATIVE
Some families, wanting natural burial, may not prefer Woodlands sites because of operational limitations placed on lot selection, memorialization, visitation or other personal considerations. In this circumstance the option of a ‘hybrid’ form of natural burial is available for any standard interment lot in the Burial Park. A ‘hybrid’ natural burial is accommodated as follows:
- Remains are prepared for burial without embalming and clothed or wrapped in garments made of natural, fully biodegradable fabric.
- Remains are buried in a biodegradable casket or alternative container made from sustainable wood, wicker, recycled cardboard or natural fiber.
- The grave is opened as per standard practice, but the soil remains beside the grave during the interment service (not transported away as per conventional interment).
- A concrete grave liner is mandatory but for a ‘hybrid’ natural burial a liner without a bottom is used. This permits direct contact of the remains with the earth.
- Prior to placement of the liner cap the family have the option to have (and participate in) the liner space, now occupied by the remains, being filled with soil.
- After the liner cap is placed the gravesite soil is replaced into the grave. The family may participate in this filling process also.
- Following interment the sod is placed, a standard flower vase installed and the family has the option to place a permanent memorial.
For ‘hybrid’ natural burial the fees for lots and services are those set out in the Burial Park Schedule of Rates for the interment location used. The maintenance, memorialization and visitation of hybrid interment sites are subject to the rules and regulations for the interment location used.