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Photo from the Associated Press (Jesse Trelstad). Lillian Johnson visits relatives buried at the Lower Wild Rice and Red River Cemetery near Wild Rice, N.D.

Photo from the Associated Press (Jesse Trelstad). Lillian Johnson visits relatives buried at the Lower Wild Rice and Red River Cemetery near Wild Rice, N.D.

I read a story in today’s paper about a cemetery near Fargo, N.D., that is in the middle of a plan to divert floodwaters from the city. The new channel would protect Fargo but would end up flooding farmland, including at least six cemeteries, for miles around. The map below shows the location of Wild Rice in relation to Fargo.

 

For the Wild Rice cemetery, options include building levees and dikes around the cemetery to protect it from floodwaters, or moving the occupants. Relatives of those buried there are not happy with any of the options.

Cemeteries are moved more often than you may think. Development is usually a major factor. Cemeteries that were far outside the boundaries of a city or town hundreds of years ago now may be located in prime real estate.

Is there a way to balance city expansion or the protection of hundreds of thousands of residents with the need to respect final resting places of the dead and the wishes of their families?

Here are a couple of sites with more information:

“Four Cemeteries That Were ‘Relocated’

“5 Reasons for Relocating an Entire Cemetery” 

 

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