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A permanent rest stop? Plan for more Texas park space includes green burial grounds

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green burial, natural burial, park, December 2012
The Texas Parks & Wildlife Department is looking to partner with the Green Burial Council in an effort to acquire land to be used as a green burial plot.  The Daily Undertaker
green burial, natural burial, body, park, December 2012
A green burial is completed without the use of chemicals or the practice of embalming. Kinkaraco-Green Burial Products/Facebook
green burial, natural burial, park, December 2012
green burial, natural burial, body, park, December 2012

It's no secret that the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department has felt the effects of deep budget cuts in recent years. Natural disasters (like last year's drought) and an ongoing need for facility maintenance have also caused significant financial strain. 

So what's the best way grow the Lone Star State's protected park land in a time of need? Become green burial ground, reports Austin NBC affiliate KXAN.

 If the program launches, Texas would become the first state government involved in this type of partnership with the Green Burial Council. 

The Texas Parks & Wildlife Department has been in discussions to form a partnership with funeral service industry professionals and the Green Burial Council (GBC), which has a history of bringing conservation and funeral service entities together in programs that "aid in the restoration, acquisition and/or stewardship of natural areas."

Land adjacent to state parks — especially in more urban areas, where conservation is most needed — would become green burial grounds and annexed to the parks' existing land.

As Texas Parks & Wildlife Department director of land conservation Ted Hollingsworth sees it, the space would be used for "more habitat for turkey, quail, deer, snakes, lizards" and "more room for trails, picnic areas, all of that" — but emphatically not for campsites.

"Typically, [green burial] involves burial in a wooden box or a cardboard box or canvas shroud, with no chemicals," Hollingsworth told the Austin television station. "No embalming or other fluids." 

If the program launches, Texas would become the first state government involved in this type of partnership with the Green Burial Council. The Texas Parks & Wildlife Department could add to its land without spending the taxpayer's money, and loved ones could ensure that their dead have been interred in a natural and environmentally responsible way. 

Sounds like a win-win for everyone — except, perhaps, coimetrophobics, who just want to enjoy the great outdoors.

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