Point Road Memorial Forest offers an alternative to conventional cemeteries
MARION — The Point Road Memorial Forest offers Marion residents and their family members a unique alternative to a traditional cemetery as their final resting place.
The two acre piece of land located near the water tower on Point Road was donated to the town by Marion’s Stone family in 1994, and consists of meandering woodland paths, with gravestones and other markers commemorating the deceased.
“It’s all about keeping the forest,” said Advisory Committee member Margie Baldwin. In comparison to a conventional cemetery in a field, plots at the Memorial Forest are pre-selected and are arranged in a way that preserves the natural condition of the land.
As such, Baldwin said that families are asked not to leave flowers, or other tributes at the gravestones. An exception for this was made for Veteran Galen Stone, who has a small American flag placed beside his gravestone.
The Memorial Forest accommodates cremated remains, but not the burial of bodies. Cremated remains can be scattered, buried in a grid system, or under a marked gravestone. There is also a Memorial Circle where names of the deceased can be engraved into the large stone structure.
There are 89 gravestones available that can accommodate the remains of up to six persons each. The cost of one of these gravestones is $4,000 with an additional $300 for each person buried under, or around the gravestone. 33 of these gravestones are in the new areas of Birch Grove, Beech Grove, and Tupelo. Baldwin said that no one has been buried in the newly added areas yet, but they are available for burial now.
The burial of remains in designated, but unmarked plots within the grid system, and woodland paths costs $300 per person. Being commemorated in the Memorial Circle costs $100 plus the cost of engraving. The Memorial Circle and grid system can accommodate over 600 persons.
Baldwin said that biodegradable containers are preferred for cremated remains, to help preserve the forest in its natural condition.
The Memorial Forest also has a spiritual monument known as a “Cairn.” The rock structures date back to prehistoric times, and have traditionally been used as memorials and landmarks. One section of the forest known as “The Dell” does not have any graves, but adds another scenic pathway for visitors.
Paths and designated plots follow a tree-themed naming system. Visitors to the forest can see locations such as Pine Trail, Acorn Path, and Birch Grove, as they walk through nature and visit their late friends and family.
To select a gravestone, or plot in the grid system, visit the Department of Public Works at 50 Benson Brook Road in Marion, or by phone at 508-748-3540.