The Keweenaw Green Burial Alliance held a tour of the Chassell Cemetery on Saturday, where a section of the land is dedicated for the practice. Department of Public Works employee Joe Youngman led the group, and has been in charge of slowly expanding the size of the facility. Not all of the surrounding land works as traditional plots, but green burials leave a smaller footprint.
Youngman says that outside of pulling down a couple of trees, he was able to leave the green burial section untouched.
KGBA President Stephen Jukuri says his group originally hoped to form its own conservation cemetery, but has had to settle for carving out sections of existing ones instead.
Green burials do not use vaults that alter the landscape, preserving chemicals, or coffins designed to weather centuries underground. That helps to lower costs, while also reducing the environmental footprint of saying goodbye to a loved one.