JAMESTOWN – A Jamestown Cemetery has started to offer “natural burial” services, with the first plots now becoming available as the graveyard looks to expand the way they do business.
Technically, this isn’t the first time Lakeview Cemetery in Jamestown has offered natural burials, in fact, the concept dates back to before the Civil War. Since Lakeview opened in 1858, staff are going back in history to resurrect the process.
Normally occurring without a casket, the deceased would be covered in a shroud. With no embalming, the natural decomposition process would take place.
“You would have a conservation club or group that would be involved in that. The Green Burial Council has different steps that need to be taken and different items that need to be met to qualify,” explained General Manager of the Lakeview Cemetery, Hugh Golden.
Additionally, no gravestones would be in place, leaving the landscape untouched.
“The burials are done in wooded, meadowy areas that don’t have a lot of maintenance. Many are not marked in any way other than maybe GPS coordinates,” said Golden.
This type of burial may seem odd to some, but it does serve a specific purpose.
“There are a number of definitions for a natural or green burial. Pretty much, the idea is to lessen the environmental impact of a burial,” said Golden, “Environmentally, it is much cleaner, much better for the environment. A lot of people think cremations are very eco-friendly. To some extent it is, but some studies have shown that the cremation process uses the same amount of energy as a 500 mile trip.”
Lakeview Cemetery plans to clear the way for a larger natural gravesite in the future, however right now they can accommodate around 20 green burials.
“We still offer traditional funerals, burials, and cremations,” Golden said.
The first green burial will take place within the next month or so, at the request of a terminal cancer patient Jody Gauggel, who first petitioned the cemetery to offer the process.