To talk with a guide call (877) 830-8311

People gathered in an aspen tree grove

How to reserve your memorial tree in the Santa Cruz mountains

Share this article
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 excited to share that memorial trees are 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 a 45-minute drive from Scotts Valley, downtown Santa Cruz, and the beaches of Capitola. It is a convenient day trip from the Bay Area. The memorial trees available include redwoods, Douglas firs, madrones, tanoaks, and more. 

Schedule a tour of our Santa Cruz forest today

How to reserve your memorial tree

The first step to reserving your memorial tree in Better Place Forests Santa Cruz is to schedule an online tour of the forest. One of our advisors will guide you through a map and photos of the forest, detailing the different areas of the forest and the attributes of trees that resonate most with you. You’ll select a tree that you like best on this tour and can then prepare to visit the forest in person. 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. 

A forest steward guides guests through the forest

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. We are also creating many partial fire breaks in the forest with our trail network. Our forest management practices reduce the risk of catastrophic fire by removing ladder fuels and reducing overall fuel load. 

Light peaks through an opening in the trees

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. 

Enjoy the sights and sounds of Santa Cruz

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. 

Schedule your tour today to find your memorial tree in Better Place Forests Santa Cruz. 

Explore available
trees with a Guide

Find the tree that speaks to you by exploring trees online or in-forest.