Green or "Natural" Burials - An environmental endeavor - rather than an inexpensive option
(Saturday - October 30, 2021) - The proposed regulations governing the use of Iron Mountain's Cemetry Park for so-called "green burials" have now been drafted, and the City Council is expected to act on the matter at it's Monday night meeting.

A portion of the cemetery has already been set aside for the green burials. The area current reserved for this purpose will allow for up to 56 such burials.

City Manager Jordan Stanchina explains that: "Selection of graves will differ in the green burial plat compared to the rest of the cemetery. In the traditional sections of the cemetery, a specific grave can be purchased in advance or at the time of burial. In the "green" section, the next available grave will be used at the time of burial. Utilizing graves in consecutive order creates the most efficient use of the land available at Cemetery Park."

The primary items of interest in the proposed regulations are:

1. Only unembalmed bodies will be accepted for interment in the Green Burials section of the cemetery. Bodies will only be accepted for burial from licensed funeral directors.

2. All digging, including refilling of the grave, will be performed by City of Iron Mountain employees, though the family of the deceased may be permitted to throw a ceremonial shovel of dirt, at the discretion of the caretaker.

3. The body will be lowered into the grave by City of Iron Mountain employees. However, family may be permitted to assist, at the discretion of the caretaker.

4. Only biodegradable materials may be used to contain the body. Concrete vaults and traditional caskets will not be permitted.

5. Costs for the plot of burial land, as well as for the opening and closing of the grave can exceed two thousand dollars, depending on the day of week and other circumstances.  Charges must be paid before the burial will be allowed to take place.

Memorials and/or grave markers:

Only cut, fresh, loose flowers may be left at the grave following burial.

No grave site memorialization is allowed: this includes but is not limited to:

Upright monuments or flush markers
Annual, perennial or woody vegetative plantings
Vases or planting urns
Shepherd hooks or flag holders
Wind chimes
Statuary figures

The city may place, outside the boundary of the plat a sign or monument on which the name and location of the interred individuals could be noted, per city specs, and at the cost of the family.

The Council is expected to approved the recommended regulations.