By Peg Rusconi, WBZ-TV

DERRY, N.H. (CBS) – The Forest Hill Cemetery in Derry, New Hampshire is in its third century, and its one of the few in the area that tries to stay open year-round. But, this historic winter has forced the town to make a tough choice.

“Gives me peace of mind to do this,” said Susan Raymond as she shoveled a path through two feet of snow, to her family’s final resting places at Forest Hill Cemetery in Derry, New Hampshire.

The headstones are just visible.

WBZ-TV’s Peg Rusconi reports.

Said Raymond, “With the five snowstorms we’ve had it’s been a little difficult.”

Difficult enough that the cemetery has declared a temporary moratorium on burials.

Forest Hill Cemetery is managed by the town, and the very people and equipment that would be used to prepare a grave site have been tied up removing snow from the roads after this winter’s relentless succession of storms.

Derry town administrator John Anderson explained it’s not easy work. “(Crews) have to clear the snow off the grave site, then jackhammer two feet to the frost line.”

Anderson said it got to the point last week where the town couldn’t spare DPW workers, who’ve been

Derry town administrator John Anderson says it’s gotten to the point where the town just can’t spare public works crews, who’ve been working exhausting hours.

“We kept getting more of those calls, essentially saying we need to bury someone tomorrow, and we don’t have the opportunity to spring someone free, we’re not going to take someone off a plow route to clear off a cemetery. You have to figure out what your priorities are.”

It’s not uncommon for cemeteries to use cold storage through frigid winters, deferring burials until spring.

Forest Hill had been an exception until now, but then, this winter’s been an exception.

The cemetery is open to visitors, but just the main roads are plowed.


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