This fall, we’re excited to share that memorial trees will be available at Better Place Forests Santa Cruz, a coastal California forest spread across 84 acres in the Santa Cruz mountains. When you buy a memorial tree in Better Place Forests Santa Cruz, you are purchasing a private, protected place to spread cremated remains — helping to conserve this forestland and providing a place for your family to visit. You and your loved ones can access this forest, both to hold a memorial ceremony and to enjoy the space.
Better Place Forests Santa Cruz is located an hour from San Jose and a 45-minute drive from Scotts Valley, downtown Santa Cruz, and the beaches of Capitola. The memorial trees available include redwoods, Douglas firs, madrones, tanoaks, and more.
How to reserve your memorial tree
The first step to reserving your memorial tree in Better Place Forests Santa Cruz is to place a $95 deposit, which is fully refundable. This deposit ensures that you will be among the first to know when the forest is open for online tours — giving you first access to our limited number of redwoods, Douglas firs, madrones, and tanoaks, among other species. You’ll receive a $1,500 credit towards your memorial tree, and we’ll contact you later this season when we’ve confirmed our opening date and can schedule your tour.
When the forest is open, one of our advisors will give you an online tour, detailing the different areas of the forest and the attributes of trees that resonate most with you.
Eventually, ashes are mixed with local soil and wildflower seeds and placed beneath the tree. The tree and the whole forest become a place where your loved ones can visit and remember you.
Practicing restoration forestry in the Santa Cruz mountains
The purchase of your memorial tree directly contributes to conserving open spaces and reforesting America. This happens first because you are directly contributing to the protection of this forest where your tree resides. Further conservation happens through our partnership with the non-profit One Tree Planted — for each tree you reserve, we plant 25–400 Impact Trees in your honor in areas that have been impacted by deforestation or forest fires.
In our Santa Cruz forest, there are specific steps we’re taking to preserve this coastal forest ecosystem. We will practice restoration forestry to help promote old-growth forest conditions and encourage forest diversity. This approach will enable the older, healthier trees in the forest to live long lives and sustain more life in the forest. The restoration will help promote a healthy forest ecosystem and reduce the risk of forest fire across the property — creating a natural fire break for the surrounding area.
This forest overlooks Soquel Creek, a 16-mile long creek with numerous tributaries. By protecting the forest, we are contributing to the overall health of the creek watershed. The creek is critical habitat for the federally threatened Central Coast steelhead, a species of Rainbow trout. They are anadromous, meaning they hatch in streams and then live most of their lives in the ocean until they return to their home streams to spawn. Steelhead can make multiple trips from the ocean to spawn, which is different from most salmonids who make this kind of journey only once. The steelhead is just one of many flora and fauna species that rely on this area, and a part of why we are committed to our stewardship of the forest.
Whether you choose from a towering long-living redwood, a madrone that twists across the pathways in search of light, or a stately tanoak whose acorns feed the wildlife, you will find something in this forest that speaks to you.
How does Better Place Forests compare to other end-of-life options?
Better Place Forests Santa Cruz is a green burial alternative, nestled in the Santa Cruz mountains and an accessible day trip from the Bay Area.
The average burial, plot, and headstone costs around $15,000 per person, and many find that this traditional process doesn’t align with their values. Better Place Forests customers can have their own tree in a private, protected forest and contribute to conservation in the Santa Cruz mountains. In particular, many people are drawn to this option because it provides their family with a beautiful, natural place to return to and remember them. Our team offers heartfelt support throughout the process of making an end-of-life plan and for families that are grieving a loss.
Pricing for a memorial tree in Better Place Forests Santa Cruz starts at $7,400. This is based on several factors, including: location, setting, tree type and size, and the number of ash spreading rights.
Sign up today to get exclusive discounts for your memorial tree in Better Place Forests Santa Cruz. You’ll be among the first to know about online tour availability and forest updates.