Can You Scatter Ashes Anywhere?

Written by cynthia roberson
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  • Introduction

    Can You Scatter Ashes Anywhere?

    While there are laws which govern the proper disposal of human remains for the sake of public health, once those remains are cremated there are no laws enacted to govern disposal of the ashes. On the other hand, there are certain guidelines which are strongly suggested one should follow. Moreover, some individual locations require specific permission and permits be obtained before the ashes are disposed.

    There are no laws governing the scattering of ashes, but guidelines must be followed. (Hemera Technologies/ Images)

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    Private Property

    When wishing to scatter ashes on private property, permission from the owner must be obtained beforehand. Permission can be acquired by contacting the owner directly via phone or in writing. If permission is then granted, the ashes may be scattered according to the owner's instructions. If permission is not granted, the ashes are not to be scattered on the owner's property.

    Owner permission is required for scattering on private property. (BananaStock/BananaStock/Getty Images)

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    Government-Controlled Properties

    There are many state and national parks which allow for the scattering of ashes. If the scattering of ashes is permitted at the desired location, a site representative will give instructions on all appropriate steps to be taken by the requester. This usually includes applying and paying for a special permit. Once the permit has been obtained, only then may the ashes be scattered. This process will take considerable planning.

    Most government lands require the purchase of special permits. (Thinkstock/Comstock/Getty Images)

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    Ocean Scattering

    Although the scattering of ashes at sea is an option, there is one specification that must be followed. It is required that all ashes are to be scattered at least 3 miles away from land. How they are scattered is left up to the loved ones of the deceased. Some choose to scatter in one location while others spread them over a large area. Many funeral homes offer this service which can include a family-attended memorial service at sea or a group scattering of ashes by the funeral director.

    The scattering of ashes at sea must take place 3 miles from land. (Hemera Technologies/ Images)

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    Other Options

    In order to scatter ashes at a cemetery, permission must be acquired. There are usually designated areas for the burying or scattering of ashes. Public parks or other places with no specific procedures advise loved ones to scatter ashes at least 100 yards from public roads or trails. Because human ashes are white and greatly noticeable, it is often recommended that they are given a shallow burial. Air scatterings by aeroplane or helicopter are also options which are permitted.

    Cemeteries assign designated areas for scattering ashes. ( Images)

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