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Lemhi County couple: God said build ‘green’ cemetery on Leadore ranch

On a ranch seven miles north of Leadore — population 105 — a couple is opening a first-of-its-kind “green” cemetery.

Nothing unnatural will be used in the burial process, not even wooden caskets.

“This body, this is not us, this is just where we live,” said rancher Jim Locke.

He said the idea of having bodies in his backyard isn’t anything to worry about.

“As far as having a body back here, it’s no different than having a piece of sagebrush or anything,” he said.

The decision to build a totally “green” cemetery on his ranch came after Locke sojourned to the top of a hill on his property one day. As he looked at the ranch below, he asked God what to do with all of his extra space.

“The lord is very important to us,” he said. “Without him, there’s nothing. He’s the one who’s given us all this property here.”

Locke’s wife, Bonnie, said God’s answer was unexpected.

“Who would have thought that would have happened to us?” she smiled and said jokingly.

Locke told us God said to create a place of peace at the ranch. He told Locke to build a cemetery like no other in the state of Idaho. Locke said he got to work right away to build a completely natural cemetery with no man-made influences. He said it will be called the Mountain View Green Cemetery, and will sit on a large bluff over-looking the ranch.

“It’ll be nice to have families come, and hear the lowing of the cattle,” said Bonnie Locke as she pointed out into the field where her husband plans to dig plots.

The Lockes said only completely “green” burials will be performed at the cemetery. Headstones will be carved from native rock, caskets fashioned from cardboard and embalming fluids are banned.

“So as the body decays, it comes back up and feeds and fertilizes the grasses and sagebrush and stuff,” said Locke.

The Lockes have lived at the ranch since the 1960s. Locke said the land is a part of them, and perhaps, a part of all of us.

“We’re turning things back to the earth like it’s supposed to be,” he said.

The Lockes said burial costs at Mountain View Green Cemetery will be considerably lower than at a regular cemetery or funeral home.

In addition to human burials, the cemetery will also offer green pet burial and Locke said he has already had a lot of inquiries.

To contact the cemetery, call (208) 768-2723 or e-mail the Jim Locke at

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