Natural Burial Preserve

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Natural Burial Preserve


Covid-19 Safety Protocol Required for Burials and In-person Appointments

Honoring the Natural Life Cycle

The Narrow Ridge Natural Burial Preserve differs from conventional, modern cemeteries in that it fosters, rather than impedes, the natural process of our bodies’ decomposition after death. Thus, burials in the preserve are free of formaldehyde-based embalming fluids and eliminate the ecological and financial costs of metal caskets and concrete vaults. In time the lovely, 5-acre burial preserve in rural, Grainger County, Tennessee will be allowed to return to a forest with trails that provide access to grave sites.

Natural Burial Resources

What We Provide

The Narrow Ridge Natural Burial Preserve offers a final resting place for individuals who value simplicity, natural preservation, and the wild beauty of a southeastern forest.


Our timber frame pavilion located within the preserve provides a lovely sheltered space for memorial services, peaceful reflection, or gatherings in honor of deceased loved ones.

Frequently Asked Questions

What We Don’t Provide

The Natural Burial Preserve is not a funeral home and does not offer the services of a funeral director to prepare a body for viewing or for burial, to transport the deceased to the burial preserve, or to coordinate funeral services.


The Natural Burial Preserve does not provide a space for burying or scattering cremains.

Reserve a Site

Reserving a site in the Natural Burial Preserve is quite simple:

  1. Agree that the Terms of Use of the Natural Burial Preserve are inline with your values.
  2. Schedule an appointment to choose a burial site by phone 865-497-2753 or by email community@narrowridge.org.
  3. Sign the Natural Burial Preserve Agreement which details the terms of use of our burial preserve.

Note: Narrow Ridge will select a burial site for those who do not wish to make a reservation in person.

Cost of Burial

Because we feel strongly that the death of a loved one should not result in debt or financial hardship for family members, we have no set fee for a cemetery plot within the burial preserve. However, Narrow Ridge encourages donations in appreciation of the Natural Burial Preserve and the time required of staff to maintain and oversee this important initiative. We hope that those who are able will give generously and also consider naming Narrow Ridge as the recipient of memorial donations.

Burial Shrouds

A linen shroud or other natural covering provides an attractive and sustainable alternative to the more costly and less sustainable metal casket.

Linen shrouds are available for purchase and pick up from Narrow Ridge Earth Literacy Center.

Wooden Caskets

Wooden caskets or other biodegradable containers constructed of natural or plant-derived materials may be used in the burial preserve as another alternative to metal or fiberglass caskets. Wooden burial containers are to be free of synthetic linings. Locally and sustainably harvested or reclaimed wood is recommended for casket construction.

Local Casket Maker: John Dalton 865-767-3199

Native Plant and Native Stone Grave Markers

Native plant grave markers or native stone grave markers that are flush to the ground and of modest proportion, serve to preserve the natural character of this preserve.

Click Here for information on Native East Tennessee Plants

Click Here for information on Grave Markers and Engravers

Opening and Closing the Grave

The opening and closing of graves in the Natural Burial Preserve is usually performed by Narrow Ridge authorized, local backhoe operator, who currently charges $300 to open and close a grave. This fee is paid directly to the back hoe operator on the day of burial rather than through Narrow Ridge or a funeral home. Alternatively, friends and family may elect to dig and cover the grave by hand.

pavilion and mountain