Green Cemetery and Burial options

Burial in Forest

 There was recently an article in the New York Times about a start up called Better Place Forests starting a green Cemetery near Silicon Valley in California.  The article got me thinking about our State and the different options that we have for green burial.  I have a attached a list of green burial cemeteries below on a this interactive map.  

Interactive Map of Green Burials Cemeteries in NC


To me it feels like the Triad area is being underserved and that got me thinking about the cost of entry and barriers that the State has put on green cemeteries. Below is the requirement for a Cemtery in NC, pulled directly from the N.C Cemetery Commission

 "  If the Commission intends to grant the authority, it shall give written notice that the authority to organize a cemetery has been granted and that a license to operate will be issued upon the completion of the following:

(1)        Establishment of the care and maintenance trust fund and receipt by the Commission of a certificate from the trust company, certifying receipt of the initial deposit required under this Article.

(2)        Full development, ready for burial, of not less than two acres including a completed paved road from a public roadway to said developed section, certified by inspection of the Commission or its representative.

(3)        A description, by metes and bounds, of the acreage tract of such proposed cemetery, together with evidence, by title insurance policy or by certificate of an attorney-at-law, certifying that the applicant is the owner in fee simple of such tract of land, which must contain not less than 30 acres, and that the title to not less than 30 acres is free and clear of all encumbrances. In counties with a population of less than 35,000 population according to the latest federal decennial census the tract need be only 15 acres"


To paraphrase, if a town like Winston-Salem wanted to start a Cemetery we would need 15 acres to do so.  Which to me seems way bigger than a cemetery needs with the current trends of our society.  Salem Funeral Home is seeing about 55% cremation.  The trends that we are told by market professionals indicate that the precentage will likely grow to 70% by 2035.  The Cemetery Commission should take these cremation percentages into account when they make land requirements for cemeteries, especially a green cemetery.  Can you image how many cremations you can place in 15 acre of land? I would say that it would be in 10's of Thousands. 

  One trend we are seeing here at the Funeral Home is the increase in families wanting to spread the ashes of a loved one in areas that might be considered National Parks or private lands.  I believe that if our community had an alternative place (cemetery ) that was natural, private, and affordable that families would take advantage this space for scattering or buring ashes or bodies.  It is my hope to one day have an area like this accesible for the Triad.  

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