The Ramsey Creek Preserve is the first conservation burial ground in the United States, and arguably, the world. The original 33 acre site opened in 1998 and protected a quarter mile of Ramsey Creek. The stream drops along 5 rock shoals, providing the sound of falling water throughout most of the preserve. The land sits at the biological cross roads between the mountains and Piedmont, has a significant area never plowed and consequently has an impressive 220 species of vascular plants (gallery). The diversity also extends to animals including the occasional black bear.
In 2006, the Ramsey Creek Preserve worked with the non-profit Upstate Forever to craft an agreement that permanently restricts management practices to ensure that the site will be forever wild. The agreement includes a legal fund to protect the site no matter what becomes of Memorial Ecosystems’ current management. Ramsey Creek became the Green Burial Council’s first Certified Conservation Burial Ground in the US with the culmination of the protection agreement. The Preserve is now working with Dr. Garland Johnson to protect an additional 38 acres and half mile of creek frontage upstream (gallery), and hopes to expand the protection even further in the future.