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National Forest Week 2021: What it is and why we celebrate

National Forest Week is a week dedicated to celebrating our national forest system. In 2021, the theme is “Explore it all” — inviting everyone to experience and appreciate all the forests have to offer. National Forest Week occurs during the second full week of July, and this year it falls on July 12–18. 

When was National Forests Week created? 

National Forests Week was first announced by the National Forest Foundation (NFF) in 2019 to raise awareness and expand the conservation of our country’s national forests. The NFF started National Forest Week because “seven in ten Americans live within a two-hour drive of a National Forest. And yet, most Americans are not aware of this incredible resource.” 

Better Place Forests has partnered with the National Forest Foundation to reforest America’s National Forests through their tree planting program. Tree planting is an essential part of conservation, as cultivating new growth ensures the health of these forests for generations to come. So far, we’ve donated 5000+ trees to reforest areas impacted by wildfire and deforestation. 

Why do we celebrate National Forests Week?

As the NFF pointed out, many people are unaware of how many national forests exist around the United States — and how ecologically diverse each is. Like National Park Week, National Forests Week (sometimes called national tree week) is an opportunity to educate and celebrate the natural resources that sustain our earth, provide us with much-needed oxygen, and offer miles of tranquil retreats around the country. 

By sharing the beauty of these forests, the National Forest Foundation hopes to inspire others to protect these irreplaceable and remarkable natural resources. 

Explore the memorial forests at Better Place Forests

At Better Place Forests, we conserve forest land to cultivate memorial forests around the United States. 

What is a memorial forest? A memorial forest is a protected forest area where people can reserve a private memorial tree for their ashes to be scattered after they pass away. By conserving and maintaining memorial forests, we strive to give people and their families a more meaningful end-of-life experience and a more personal memorial — one that protects forest land around the country. Many of our memorial forests are located near or even within National Forests.

Get to know more about each of these unique and stunning locations below. 

Point Arena, CA

Northern California is home to some of the most unique and diverse forests in the world. Our Point Arena Forest is lush with coastal redwoods, Douglas firs, and other local flora. This forest offers the peace of a silent, foggy morning and unmatched views of the Pacific coastline. 

Better Place Forests Point Arena is two hours from the Mendocino National Forest, and it’s within a short drive from multiple state parks and other notable areas of natural beauty. Nearby Mendocino County natural attractions include MacKerricher State Park with its coastal views and boardwalk hikes, as well as Russian Gulch State Park and Mendocino Headlands State Park.  

Santa Cruz, CA

In our Santa Cruz forest, you’ll be surrounded by ancient California Redwoods and striking ridgeline views. Tucked away in the mountains, our Santa Cruz memorial forest boasts a wide array of trees and an abundance of birds that light up the sky with their colorful wings and charming bird-song. A peaceful, spring-fed pond in the midst of these woods makes the Santa Cruz forest an idyllic place to stroll through the woods and spend eternity amongst peace and solitude.

Better Place Forests Santa Cruz is located near Uvas Canyon State Park and Nisene Marks State Park. It’s also a short 45-minute drive from Loma Prieta, the highest point in Santa Cruz County.

St. Croix Valley, MN

Our St. Croix Valley memorial forest has some of the most beautiful foliage in Minnesota. When you think of fall colors and vistas that seem to change and shift with every minute, that’s Better Place Forests St. Croix Valley. These enchanting woods are located on 112 acres of lakefront forest land. Home to diverse flora and fauna, our St. Croix Valley forest is a rich habitat for bald eagles, black bears, and meandering trails through a beautiful range of trees and plant life.

Located in Scandia, MN, this memorial forest is 3.5 hours from Superior National Forest. And nearby William O’Brien State Park boasts 1,520 acres of park land along the St. Croix River with glacial land formations and a diverse landscape of woodlands, bogs, and restored oak savanna.

Rock River, IL

Our Rock River forest covers 60 acres of breathtaking riverside forest land. Celebrate National Forest Week amidst stands of towering oaks, shagbark hickory, black walnut, and other local trees. Better Place Forests Rock River is home to a wide variety of wildlife, including beavers, bald eagles, and herons, among others. 

Located in Ogle County, IL, along the shore of Rock River, you’ll find Lowden State Park. This 207-acre wooded state park is famous for its 48-foot-tall Black Hawk statue, but the statue is only a small part of the natural wonder of Lowden State Park, with its meandering trails and riverside views from beneath the bluffs. 

Flagstaff, AZ

Our Flagstaff forest has some of the lushest, dramatic views in the Southwest. This memorial forest boasts an ancient grove of quaking aspen trees and an expansive meadow of wildflowers, grasses, and wildlife. Visitors can enjoy 160 acres of mountain views and breathtaking forest land.

Better Places Forest Flagstaff is located in the Coconino National Forest — considered one of the most diverse national forests in the country. Coconino National Forest is home to ponderosa pine forests, the red rocks of Sedona, and the tallest peaks in Arizona. The famous Grand Canyon National Park is located just an hour and a half to the northwest of our Flagstaff forest. 

Litchfield Hills, CT

Speaking of mountain views, our Litchfield Hills forest covers 130 acres of mountaintop forest land in Connecticut. It’s breathtaking throughout the year, but it truly shines in fall when the foliage turns a broad range of brilliant oranges, reds, and earthy browns. Overlooking the Housatonic River Valley, Litchfield Hills is made up of maples and chestnut oaks, with a seasonal stream that runs through the heart of the forest. 

Northwestern Connecticut is home to numerous forests and state parks. Nearby Better Places Forest Litchfield Hills, you’ll find Haystack Mountain State Park, with its winding trails through lush mountain laurel in the summer and brilliant changing foliage in the fall. To the west, Mount Riga State Park is home to ancient trees, sweeping meadows, and mountain views.

Berkshires, MA

Our Berkshires forest covers 200 acres of forest land with incredible 360-degree ridgetop views. Nowhere else can you take in the Berkshires and Vermont’s Green Mountains in such a peaceful setting. Plus, its diverse landscape includes sweeping meadowlands along with acres of maples, wild blueberries, and other gorgeous wildlife.

Adjacent to Better Place Forests Berkshires, Mohawk Trail State Park in Charlemont, MA, covers 6,000+ acres of wooded land with rivers and streams wandering through the forest. Nearby, you’ll also find Savoy Mountain State Forest to the west and Tannery Falls to the south.

Celebrating National Forests Week by planting trees

Our memorial forests represent hundreds of acres of protected forest land that may have otherwise been developed — changing the landscape forever. Instead of selecting a tombstone in a cemetery, a memorial forest allows you to leave a legacy of conservation for generations to come. 

In addition to protecting existing forests, we work with One Tree Planted to help replenish forests by planting Impact Trees in areas affected by fire or deforestation. For every memorial tree that’s reserved, we plant 25-400 Impact Trees in the customer's honor. In 2020 we planted over 81,800 Impact Trees across the country!

If you’d like to learn more about our memorial forests, schedule a free online forest tour today. 


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