Frequently Asked Questions


Q.  I thought embalming was required by law - Why don't you allow embalming?

Embalming is not required in any state,. The Federal Trade Commission requires funeral service providers to inform consumers that embalming is not required .There are ecological problems with conventional body burial such as the potential for embalmed bodies to leach formaldehyde into the ground. Formaldehyde has been regarded as a known carcinogen by the World Health Organization and is on the EPA's list of probable carcinogens. While conventional burial separates the body from the earth, natural burials put it to good use. At Honey Creek Woodlands, the body is wrapped in a shroud or placed in a biodegradable container. It is buried in a shallow grave -- about 3 feet deep -- where microbe-rich soils exists to efficiently break down the body naturally. Above ground, two to three feet of topsoil is mounded on top, and the grave is marked with a living object, such as a tree or wildflowers, or some type of inconspicuous ecologically functional marker.</div>

Q.  Will burying people without vaults and without embalming hurt water quality?

While the human body contains bacteria and viruses at death, many of these die (or become inert) within hours or days; almost all are inert within 5 years. Before any surface water is contaminated, germs must percolate through many feet of soil and rock, and then exit via a spring, a process that can take many years. At Honey Creek Woodlands, we do not bury immediately adjacent to streams, and the density of burials is much less than for conventional cemeteries. By returning the areas to natural vegetation, we expect an improvement of adjacent waterways and greater biological diversity over time.

Q.  I thought if the body was not embalmed, the burial had to be within 24 hours - is that true?

No - You can use refrigeration or dry ice to keep the body cool and wait for 3 to 5 days to have the service. We have many people who are buried at Ramsey Creek Preserve who have had the funeral 3 to 4 days after the death. There are many people who have home funerals and have vigils for 3 days just using dry ice. If you ask for help from a funeral home, and they tell you this, ask if they have a cooler or if they can use dry ice.

Q.  Will natural burials attract animals that could dig up the bodies?

Natural burial is an ancient and very successful method of burial. Pioneer cemeteries located in wild areas that contained animals such as grizzly bears were not disturbed. In our years of experience at Ramsey Creek Preserve, we have seen absolutely no evidence whatsoever that animals are attracted to natural burial sites, despite the presence of dogs, coyotes, and the occasional black bear.</div>

Q.  Does Honey Creek Woodlands have a facility for funeral services?

No, but we do have plans to either build a simple chapel or have one moved to the site. We will have more information about our plans and about giving opportunities to help fund the chapel at a later date.</div>

Q.  Can my church pastor perform the funeral service?

Of course. Honey Creek Woodlands is available to all people and each family may choose and perform the service they desire for their loved one.

Q.  Are family and friends allowed to take part in the burial ceremony?

Yes - we encourage the family to be a part of the service, especially the closing of the grave.

Q.  Will the monks from the Monastery of the Holy Spirit be involved in the burial services? Will they be buried there?

No - the monks will not be directly involved in the burials but are committed to the protection of their land in a beautiful natural setting. Memorial Ecosystems will manage the burial grounds and be responsible for the day to day operations. Although the Trappist monks at the Monastery have traditional monastic burials - simple burial rites and interment into a hand dug grave without a casket - they have a private cemetery at the Monastery.

Q.  Can I have a Jewish burial in Honey Creek Woodlands?

Yes - Honey Creek Woodlands will be for all faiths and the burial practices we require are consistent with traditional Jewish burial.

Q.  How can we be sure that the burial grounds will be protected from development in the future?

Honey Creek Woodlands will be protected by a conservation easement which will prohibit development forever. Also, a percentage of the sales price goes into a permanent endowment for the care of the burial grounds. The endowment will be used to maintain trails, roads and structures and keep public spaces open. It will also help keep invasive species at bay, and help in special circumstances (after a natural disaster, for example).

Q.  How do you keep track of where people are buried?

We enter data into a GIS (Geographical Information System) database for individual burials, based on reference markers along the trails, which are archived electronically and on paper. You may choose not to have any marker at all, or you may choose a rock or stone which will lay flat on the ground, to serve an ecological purpose for habitat. All stone markers must be of native stone, consistent with the geology of the site. HCW can provide an appropriate stone on request. Please check with our staff for approval prior to purchasing a stone elsewhere. Trees, shrubs and wildflowers can also be used as grave markers but must be appropriate for the location. Families may not plant on the graves without the express permission from the HCW staff.

Q.  I understand that you require biodegradable caskets but what if I have a medical prosthesis?

While we want as little non-biodegradable material buried as possible, we think that it is not practical or ecologically important to remove all dental fillings, heart valves, hips, knees, etc. Anyone who has concerns about this can contact us for a fuller explanation.

Q.  How can I purchase a burial lot at Honey Creek Woodlands? When will they be available?

Plots are available now, and several interments have already occurred. Selecting a Plot. Plot Pricing.

Q.  How much will a burial lot cost? Will there be a discount if you purchase more than one?

Plot Pricing.
We will offer discounts for 4 or more plots.