Cemetery seeks funds to replace trees

Three months after controversy following the cutting and removal of many trees on its property, Forest Hills Cemetery (FHC) is asking for donations to help reforest the 275-acre historic property.

According to a letter sent out by the Forest Hills Educational Trust (FHET) Dec. 21, the cemetery’s “anticipated reforestation will be costly.” The cemetery had large-scale removals of hemlocks and other trees in September, partly due to an infestation of the Wooly Adelgid insect and partly to create more room for new graves.

The FHET letter does not mention space-clearing as a factor in the tree removals. A Gazette call to George Milley, CEO of the cemetery, was not returned by press time.

The letter calls FHC “stewards of this treasured landscape” who “stand committed to the preservation and celebration of its beloved landscape.”

“We’re private. We have no public funding. We have to make decisions on good, sound business standards,” Milley told the Gazette in September.

“He’s a butcher. He’s a barbarian. He just doesn’t care [about the trees],” Jamaica Plain resident Richard Heath told the Gazette at the time about the tree-cutting for new graves.

Forest Hills is a historic garden cemetery founded 1848 and is on the National Register of Historic Places. The cemetery, which is located at 95 Forest Hills Ave., has a hilly, park-like atmosphere and has several famous people buried there. It is also a not-for-profit organization.

FHET functions like a “friends” group of the cemetery, fundraising and organizing programming that the cemetery must approve.

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