Opinion: Wise action will prevent Potsdam cemetery crisis, says Bayside Cemetery Board of Trustees president
Thursday, June 6, 2019 - 7:52 am

Bayside Cemetery has been in the news lately (Watertown Daily Times and North Country This Week) regarding the possibility of abandonment. That sounds alarming; let’s put things in context.

There are few cemeteries in Northern New York that aren’t struggling. Most were founded at a time of greater optimism, and now there aren’t enough people and money in our region to maintain them. American burial practices are changing rapidly, also. More than half of those who die are cremated and few of those are interred in cemeteries.

As a result, cemeteries fail, and state law requires the towns to take them over. The Town of Potsdam already cares for several abandoned cemeteries, and other abandonments are looming.

Bayside hasn’t been abandoned, because its trustees and friends are working hard to prevent such a drastic outcome. Some of your good neighbors make a donation toward our annual expenses, none of which are covered by tax dollars. If you visit the graves of loved ones at Bayside or just enjoy walking there, you should donate too. A beautiful community resource isn’t free.

New York State recently enacted a law permitting towns to assist cemeteries with money or services so they won’t be abandoned. Bayside Cemetery wants to take advantage of that law so we can continue to be a beautiful and valuable resource in the region.

In other words, no crisis—yet— but some wise action now could prevent one.

John Omohundro

Bayside Cemetery Board of Trustees president