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Wahkiacus, WA - Herland Forest Cemetery

Herland.walker1Name: Herland Forest Cemetery
Category: Cemetery Services for People
City, State: Wahkiacus, WA 98670
Contact: Walt Patrick
Website/Contact: https://www.herlandforest.org   
Phone: (509) 630-6848
Natural End Pledge on file - August 2015


Herland Forest is a community-based, not-for-profit natural burial cemetery and stewardship forest in south-central Washington about 80 miles east of Portland, OR.

Herland Forest is an outgrowth of the Windward Community’s Sustainability Education and Research Center’s dedication to learning, teaching and presenting wholesome alternatives to today’s commercial, industrial burial practices.

The Mission of Herland Forest is to:
  • provide meaningful and affordable burial alternatives to people in the Pacific Northwest;
  • better understand the forest through ongoing ecological research;
  • use our knowledge to protect and enhance the vitality and productivity of our forest ecosystem;
  • and utilize natural burial for conservation, devoting funds to acquire and steward additional lands.

To learn more about our Herland Forest and Windward please visit the About Us section.

A Community Cemetery

Herland Forest is Managed by  members of the Windward Community. A 501(c)(3) transitional center and sustainability education and research center. As a cooperative community of over 30 years, Windward is dedicated to modeling the practical human-scale technologies and integrated village-scale systems needed to support sustainable rural communities on marginal land.

The creation of Herland is a natural outgrowth of Windward’s efforts to provide holistic alternatives for all stages of life.

to Learn more about Windward, their approach to creating and sustaining community, and you can get involved, visit their website www.windward.org

A Forest Cemetery

The twenty-acre Herland Forest lies at the transition between the moist mountain forests of the western Cascades and the high prairies of eastern Washington, and features mixed stands of Ponderosa pine, Douglas fir and Oregon white oak.

The forest was logged about one hundred years ago and has since regrown into a beautiful, light-filled forest where ancient oaks shade young pines, and deer, coyote, migratory birds and turkeys find refuge.

Learn more about the land of Herland Forest

A Stewardship Forest

Stewardship call us to create a lasting home, while connecting with the wider community of life.

We recognize that we can only steward what we truly love, and that we can only truly love something that we understand–something that we live with, spend time with and keenly observe, something that inspires us and that we stand beside to protect.

Learn more about the stewardship  of Herland Forest

Become a Guardian of Herland Forest

“Guardian” is the title for those who have purchased a plot in the cemetery.

Operating a cemetery in a forest creates enduring restrictions on the use and development of the land – helping ensure that the ecosystem’s vitality remains intact.

So, Guardians protect the life of Herland Forest when they lay their bodies down amidst it’s trees.

Becoming a Guardian of Herland is a simple yet profound way for your death to have a positive and lasting influence on the biosphere for generations to come.

Learn more about becoming a Guardian of Herland Forest


Herland.keene_flowers190427_01Located in the Cascadian transition zone, where the rain forest meets the dryland forest, Herland Forest is home to Douglas fir, Ponderosa pine and Oregon white oak, and the many flowers and shrubs that grow in among the trees. Instead of the regimented layout common to most cemeteries, people who choose the Herland Forest are laid to rest in the clearings that naturally form between the trees. This minimizes the root disruption caused by opening a grave, and facilitates the incorporation of one's remains back into the biosphere.

Herland Forest is stewarded by the members of a sustainability research cooperative. The stewards apply permaculture techniques that enhance the health of the forest and protect it from the wildfire danger that threatens all forests in the Pacific Northwest.

Our general practice is to inter a person's remains within a volume of wood chips. This facilitates the return of the body's nutrients to the biosphere, and helps retain the seasonal moisture that is needed to help young trees continue their growth through the dry months of late summer. For more details on interment options, click on How It's Done in the Herland Forest.

Our goal is to use natural burial to explore ways to create a permaculture food forest that helps sustain land based communities.  By providing renewable resources to the community, the forest can care for the many creatures, large and small, that depend on it.

As you can see in the picture above, in the Herland Forest, we plant lots of flowering bulbs on the graves so that each spring they turn into bouquets that celebrates life's renewal. At most cemeteries, people bring flowers to decorate the graves of their loved ones. In the Herland Forest, people can visit a loved one's grave, and gather flowers, fruits, and nuts to bring home and enjoy. 

Herland Forest invites people to pick out a spot in the forest that speaks to them, and then to come and camp out when they desire to get away from the hectic pace of modern life. We see the Herland Forest as a sanctuary, and encourage people to take joy from it as they contemplate the transitions to come. The host community reserves Memorial Day Weekend as an open-house camping event so that people who have acquired interment rights, or are thinking about acquiring interment rights, or have loved ones already interred in Herland Forest, can gather for a weekend of memories and celebration.

For more information, call (509) 630-6848.


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