CBS NEWSPATHS– A California company has come up with a unique alternative for people who don’t want to be buried in a cemetery.
Better Place Forests is making it possible for people to choose a tree in a forest as their final resting place. Bambi Lignell feels at peace knowing she carried out her mother’s final wish.
“She wanted to be in the redwoods,” said Lignell. Her mother passed away after a fight with cancer. Her ashes are now spread around a tree, deep in a California forest where a marker bears her name. “My brothers and I can come to tell stories and ya know, I’d much rather do that here than in a cemetery.”
That’s precisely what Sandy Gibson intended when he co-founded Better Place Forests. He came up with the idea of replacing gravestones with nature after an unpleasant memory of his own mother’s burial.
“It’s this big black tombstone right by a busy street in a busy cemetery and it was just never kind of the vision of what I want to think of when I think of her,” Gibson Said
Gibson instead wants families to think of a 20-acre plot of redwood forest near the northern California coast. Families can purchase the rights to one of thousands of trees and spread a loved one’s ashes around its base. The trees range from about $3,000-$32,000, depending on the size and location. That money helps to purchase the land.
“We then partner with land trusts and conservation groups to create conservation easements that permanently protect the forest from development,” said Gibson.
Better Place Forests has plans to expand its acreage in California and also plans to open land to customers in Washington, Colorado, Oregon, and Arizona in the coming months.