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January 2024: The First 100 Days



Today, January 14, marks one hundred days since Vermont Forest Cemetery's grand opening. We write to you humbled and exhilarated by all that has transpired. Our success in our first three months is due to you, our community, so we wanted to take a moment to thank you and also to let you know a bit of what to expect in the next months.


Vermont Forest Cemetery continues winter operations for the first year—and what a winter it has been! We have received almost four feet of snow so far, with about a foot still on the forest floor. The major trails, the Cemetery Lane and the parking area are all clear and open and we are working hard to keep them so. We carried out a burial on December 30, in the midst of the “mini-mud-season” at the end of 2023. It was a challenge, but it was a beautiful and a very moving day.


We are learning a lot about how to make burial more safe and easeful. As such we we have designated high-accessibility areas in both the Spruce and Hardwood Groves, and have updated our policies to reflect best practices from our experience and that of other natural burial grounds.


When conditions are poor (in any season), we will require that any burial take place in one of the accessible areas, even for those who may have pre-selected other locations. These areas have been selected because they have the safest access and allow for large groups to gather.


Our greatest weather-related challenge has been, and will likely continue to be, the public roads. The town of Roxbury does a tremendous job maintaining the Class III roads that lead to the Cemetery, but sometimes it just isn’t safe or feasible to get up the hill. When conditions make it too challenging to access the Cemetery, we will work with you to make sure you have options for sheltering the body with one of the funeral homes we collaborate with.


Thanks to Burial Deed sales and donations, we have purchased nearly all the equipment we need to run the Cemetery. With almost 1,000 feet of trail built, our next focus is on building an all-weather structure for visitors with electricity and sanitary facilities.


Each of the seven burials we have done so far has been a profound experience for us. Paul is fond of saying we created the Cemetery because it is what we wanted for our own final rest, and that’s true. It has been an honor to be of service to people in their time of need, to be able to offer something that wasn’t possible before, and to know that this Cemetery is the legacy of so many wonderful humans.

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