MARIPOSA, Calif. (FOX26) — This thick forest with lush green meadows is located 30 minutes from Yosemite and two hours from Fresno.
It’s not uncommon to see bears, deer and jackrabbits in these woods. Better Place Forests believes this small piece of paradise is the perfect setting to place a loved one’s ashes.
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“People don’t want their ashes to potentially sit in a closet or a garage for a long time,” said Better Place Forests CEO Sandy Gibson. “They want to be remembered in a way that is respectful and a way that is beautiful.”
Better Place Forests is creating a conservation memorial forest in Mariposa County.
It has a similar place up north in Mendocino County with plans to create two more out west. Families wishing to bury a loved one’s ashes can go online and find the tree that speaks to them.
“Some people come in they’re looking for a redwood or a tall douglas fir, tall cedar cause they love them because they’re big and straight,” said Gibson. “Other people come and they see an oak with those wild limbs and a little more open meadow.”
Instead of a grave or tombstone, families choose a private protected tree.
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A marker is placed next to the tree once the ashes are spread. Dawn Leitzell has already picked out a tree to spread her husband’s ashes.
“It sits in an absolutely gorgeous grove of older oaks and mine is younger,” said Leitzell. “I have no idea how old it is but it’s younger and I thought it will have plenty of room to grow over time”
There are thousands of trees sitting on this 170-acre property named Yosemite Gateway.
Choosing your personal tree begins at $4,900.