By Sharon Corcoran
Since open-air cremations were begun in Crestone, unofficially in 1998 and then legally by the Crestone End of Life Project in 2008, open-air cremations, as well as other alternative final disposition methods, have attracted public interest and popularity across the country.
In October, some of that interest manifested in Crestone with the arrival of Ashley Kohler representing Northern Pyre, a nonprofit organization promoting open-air cremation in Minnesota, and Brett Nicoletti from Smile Productions, a California-based film company working on a documentary about the open-air cremation movement.
Kohler came to meet with Crestone End of Life Project (CEOLP) board...
CEOLP volunteer and fire master Paul Kloppenburg (center right, in hat) directs loved ones of the deceased in lighting the cremation fire. photo credit: David Wright
by Gussie Fauntleroy
Because fire is dramatic, members of the Crestone End of Life Project (CEOLP) fire team tend to be among the most visible volunteers at open-air cremations facilitated by CEOLP. At the same time, the role requires the ability to be as “invisible” as possible, quietly focusing on the fire without bringing attention to oneself.
“It’s a practice of remaining mindful of details while keeping a broad awareness of the overall situation,” says longtime CEOLP...
On October 19, 2021, the Saguache County Commissioners granted permission to the Crestone End of Life Project (CEOLP) to establish a Natural Burial Ground adjacent to the existing open-air pyre site. The Natural Burial Ground will serve Saguache County residents or property owners who are registered with the CEOLP.
Two sources of generosity made pursuing this project possible. The Dragon Mountain Temple board of directors, with Abbots Steve Allen and Angelique Farrow, agreed to donate a portion of their land for this endeavor. A bequest from Christine Dupre’s family provided the funds to pursue the Conditional Use Modification’s legal and...