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Trees line Fish Lake within Better Place Forests St. Croix Valley

Coming soon: Better Place Forests St. Croix Valley

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Better Place Forests creates and maintains conservation memorial forests for people who choose cremation and don’t want their ashes to end up in a traditional cemetery.

We’re thrilled to share some exciting news with you: This fall, Better Place Forests is expanding to the Midwest and opening our fourth and newest forest, Better Place Forests St. Croix Valley. Located near charming river towns, breathtaking nature and the scenic outdoors, our St. Croix Valley forest is a stunning location with 2,500 feet of lakefront trees located just outside of Scandia, near Big Marine Lake. Beautiful and accessible, it’s only a 45-minute drive from downtown Minneapolis and 1 hour and 45 minutes from Rochester.

We’ve chosen this location for our fourth memorial forest because its high conservation value upholds our goal to protect the ecological beauty and beloved natural spaces across the United States. The property itself falls within Washington County’s top ten conservation areas and we’re working with a local land trust to ensure we’re continuing to maintain the land that is loved by the community.

We had the honor of speaking with Scandia Mayor Christine Maefsky, who shared the unique history of Scandia and the St. Croix River Valley –– from its sizable beaver population to her very own goat dairy farm (which happens to be the largest producer in the state). 

She comments: “I love the idea of Better Place Forests and what they will bring to the families and friends within our community. Not only will their forest help maintain our land and all of its natural beauty, what they offer is a beautiful legacy of protecting nature and its biodiversity. The St. Croix River Valley is known for its pristine natural landscapes and charm. I’m glad that Better Place Forests is here to provide a natural and beautiful way of commemorating one’s life that ultimately helps us protect our forestland.” 

An aerial view of Better Place Forests St. Croix Valley that shows Fish Lake lined with trees
This stunning property includes 2,500 feet of lakefront forest bordering Fish Lake in Scandia
Views of Fish Lake from the shore. A large deciduous tree stands along the water.
Visitors can capture views of the majestic lake while wandering the property

There are rolling hills and ridges that provide expansive views of the lake and wetlands throughout the property. This forest is a habitat for bald eagles and variety of migrating birds. In the fall, the oak and maple trees put on a striking display red and gold foliage.

“We know that over 80% of Baby Boomers will want to be cremated, and we want to offer our customers and their loved ones an alternative to the traditional cemetery,” says Sandy Gibson, CEO and Founder of Better Place Forests. ”This means offering them a beautiful space to enjoy that is reflective of their community. We’re honored to be in St. Croix Valley, one of the most beautiful places in the country.”  

A view of the canopy of a stand of red maples within Better Place Forests St. Croix Valley
The sun peeks through red maples – which are abundant in our St. Croix Valley forest

Better Place Forests is excited to join the St. Croix River Valley communities by creating a peaceful sanctuary for families to reflect and remember their loved ones. Robert F., a local neighbor close to our forest, shares: “Better Place Forests is an absolutely brilliant concept for Minnesotans to leave a legacy that’s good for nature and the environment. I’m thrilled that this incredible forest is going to remain the beautiful place that it is.” 

At Better Place Forests, our mission is to help “inspire everyone to leave a meaningful legacy for the planet and the people they love.” We’re honored to be introducing ourselves and our mission to the wonderful people in and around St. Croix River Valley. We’re passionate about supporting the community –– and once the forest opens, we plan to hire local residents as forest stewards, forest technicians and arborists to help care for and maintain the land and trees.

We’re opening with online tours this Fall –– final date yet to be announced (but we’ll keep you posted)! In-person visits and memorial ceremonies are scheduled to begin in 2021. 

In the meantime, we’re welcoming people to join the Founders Circle with a fully-refundable $95 deposit. As part of the Founders Circle, you are recognized for being one of the first to be part of the Better Place Forests St. Croix Valley community. We are always deeply appreciative of our Founders – and plan to commemorate them by inscribing their names in the forest. Founding members will save over $1,000 on our most popular trees, have their first pick of trees, and also get invitations to exclusive events.

Learn more about how to join our Founder’s Circle, get exclusive updates and be the first to know when our St. Croix Valley forest is open for tours.

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