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Family walks through the meadow of Better Place Forests Yosemite Gateway

Announcing our newest forest — Yosemite Gateway!

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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.

For decades Americans have flocked to Yosemite National Park for views of towering cliffs and sweeping meadows. Today we’re proud to announce that we’ve opened our newest forest, located just 30 miles west of this iconic California destination — Better Place Forests Yosemite Gateway! Located in the Sierra Nevada, this forest is an easy and scenic drive for visitors traveling from the Bay Area, Central, and Southern California. 

This 170-acre forest sits just above the Sierra Nevada foothills where the mountain meadow ecosystem begins. The easy drive along Highway 132 is a stunning way to approach Yosemite National Park and provides many memorable viewpoints and an abundance of outdoor recreation. 

We’re so excited to conserve this famous section of California forestland and offer more families a meaningful final resting place. 

Experience the magic of Better Place Forests Yosemite Gateway

Yosemite Gateway is home to an incredible diversity of flora and fauna. This rare mountain meadow ecosystem is a critical part of the Sierra Nevada Mountain ecosystem — playing a key role in the health of the region’s rivers and wet meadows. The Yosemite Gateway forest has two mountain meadows, one even including a 150-year-old fruit orchard. These meadows provide a safe haven for rare species of birds and other wildlife. By protecting this property, we’re creating an important wildlife corridor to native wildlife and protecting the diverse ecosystem.

When you enter the forest you’ll be greeted by quintessential Sierra Nevada tree species, including deciduous trees, like the massive black oak, interior oak, and live oak, as well as evergreen favorites like the ponderosa pine, sugar pine, Douglas fir, and incense cedars. In the summer you’ll find the forest blanketed in a rainbow of native wildflowers. Bean Creek, a small tributary of the Merced River which flows through Yosemite National Park, runs through the length of the forest.

Dawn gazes up at the trees in Yosemite Gateway

Longtime local, Dawn L., became our first customer in Yosemite Gateway. She’s spent many years exploring the area and calling it home: 

“Being in nature has always felt like home for me, especially this area near Yosemite. To know that Better Place Forests will help protect this land for future generations is inspiring.” – Dawn Leitzell, Neighbor and first Yosemite Gateway customer

To protect the forest in perpetuity, we’ve begun working with the Sierra Foothill Conservancy: 

“Sierra Foothill Conservancy is a proud partner… to ensure the permanent protection of this incredible forest and rare low elevation mountain meadow that provides critical habitat for a variety of native wildlife, plant, avian and natural resources.” – Bridget Fithian, Sierra Foothill Conservancy Executive Director

We’re thrilled to have received support from the local community. In the coming months, we’ll hire forest stewards and arborists in the area in preparation for in-person tours beginning in the fall of 2021, and memorial ceremonies that will begin in the summer of 2022. We’re grateful for the kind mentions from ABC30 News, Fox26 News, and Mariposa Gazette

A family walks by a towering oak tree in Yosemite Gateway

When you enter Better Place Forests Yosemite Gateway you may be greeted by an array of beautiful animals native to the area. Butterflies, mule deer, and large jackrabbits wander the grounds, and a variety of birds including the northern flicker, stellar jays, spotted owl, and wild turkey can be found around the property. On rare occasions, you may even see a black bear!

Wildflowers bloom along the forest floor

Beginning today, you can reserve your future final resting place in Yosemite Gateway. Book a free online forest tour to find your tree in one of the forest’s three distinct sections:

  • Orchard Meadowview: Located atop a hill with a sweeping meadow vista, Orchard Meadowview is the crown jewel of the forest. On a clear day, you can see a hint of the granite cliffs of Yosemite National Park in the distance. 
  • Poet’s Knoll: The heart of the forest with inspiring sunrays and unexpected pockets of wildflowers. This section features a diversity of tree species which creates a rare and magical moment where deciduous trees and evergreens grow together.
  • Ponderosa Passage: Just off the main drive, this section is home to many of the forest’s young ponderosa pines. The forest floor invites you to slow down, take a deep breath, and rest in this accessible forest section.

A family admires the forest while lounging in the meadow

To thank early supporters of Better Place Forests Yosemite Gateway, we’re offering them the first pick of memorial trees and up to 20% savings (over $1,000 on our most popular packages). We’ll also be inscribing their names in the forest to commemorate their early support.

We’re excited for you to see the beauty of Better Place Forests Yosemite Gateway. When you’re ready to create a meaningful legacy, book your free online forest tour to learn more.

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