Before you scatter those ashes

Farmaholic

Active member
Oct 7, 2023
33
7
Some families find solace in scattering their loved one's ashes within an idyllic scene. While the idea sounds like a beautiful way to honor a loved one, it's important to check on the permitting rules first. For instance, most of our National Parks allow some form of scattering, so long as you've received a permit to do so. I doubt most of us consider permitting laws when it comes to scattering the ashes after a cremation, but it really pays to check in advance. The issue largely seems to center around environmental protections. Are you required to have a permit before scattering ashes in your area?
 
Location
United States

Attachments

  • AdobeStock_671045623.jpg
    AdobeStock_671045623.jpg
    36.5 KB · Views: 53
Good question, thanks for sharing. I just did some light Google research and found the application form and list of requirements for Yosemite, which I think is probably representative of all the National Parks, though I'm sure there's variability. To obtain a permit and comply with park rules, this says you must scatter remains "out of the sight of any public use areas" and "at least 100 yards from any watercourse" to name a couple requirements. I guess there are environmental consequences associated with depositing ashes but considering that a person's ashes only weigh 4-6 pounds, it seems like any such effects would be relatively negligible. Maybe we're so full of microplastics and other junk from the food we eat that our dead bodies are considered an environmental contaminant (lol)?

But I appreciate you bringing this up - like you said, I don't think permitting for scattering ashes is something people really consider until they're faced with it. For California, I learned that a Permit for Disposition of Human Remains (VS-9 Burial Permit) is required before you can scatter ashes anywhere in the state. It appears these permits are often obtained by funeral homes as part of the general services they provide.
 
Today I learned. But there are so many areas where we can scatter ashes that no one would ever know unless you tell them. I can understand National Parks requiring this, but if you own 100 acres out in the sticks, you're not going to bother with a permit.
 
Today I learned. But there are so many areas where we can scatter ashes that no one would ever know unless you tell them. I can understand National Parks requiring this, but if you own 100 acres out in the sticks, you're not going to bother with a permit.

Agreed. I can't imagine that everyone seeking to fulfill the wishes of a deceased loved one bothers to factor compliance with government permit requirements into their planning. When my wife's aunt passed away a number of years ago, the family spread the ashes in the Sequoias and I don't think the notion of getting a permit even occurred to them. If I were scattering ashes as part of a small private group and the scattering was happening in a private setting (as I believe these matters are generally handled, even on public land), I don't know that I'd bother filing paperwork for it either.
 
I haven't never heard in my life that any kind of permit is needed for someone to scatter the ashes of their cremated loved ones. I think that it's asking for too much in my opinion. Even looking at protecting the environment, this doesn't seem like it's more than what the burning of fossil fuels have even causing. I bet they also ask for permit to bury your dead loved ones.
 
Well, I've just now realized that we scattered Moms ashes illegally. I had no idea that it might require a permit. I just checked, and sure enough, my brothers and I should've applied for a permit before spreading her ashes in the local park that she used to frequent. At least I know better now.
 
Well, I've just now realized that we scattered Moms ashes illegally. I had no idea that it might require a permit. I just checked, and sure enough, my brothers and I should've applied for a permit before spreading her ashes in the local park that she used to frequent. At least I know better now.

Well, it's good that someone knows better just in case of tomorrow so that they don't land themselves into trouble with the law. Although, the most important thing in this your case is that whether it's illegal or not, it doesn't stop your mom's soul from finding peace because her ash was spread without permit. It's the only good thing to take from this!
 
Ash is organic matter, right? Does it matter when you scatter ashes of your loved ones in the jungle or even in the river? Will it actually cause environmental damages? We are not taking about dumping huge load of ash, we are talking about just a couple of pounds.
 
Agreed. I can't imagine that everyone seeking to fulfill the wishes of a deceased loved one bothers to factor compliance with government permit requirements into their planning. When my wife's aunt passed away a number of years ago, the family spread the ashes in the Sequoias and I don't think the notion of getting a permit even occurred to them. If I were scattering ashes as part of a small private group and the scattering was happening in a private setting (as I believe these matters are generally handled, even on public land), I don't know that I'd bother filing paperwork for it either.
Honestly same here. I don't think most people would bother to file a permit, mainly because they're grieving. Most people probably don't even know it may require a permit. Personally, if someone I cared about died, the last thing on my mind would be filing a permit to scatter their ashes. I would probably just go ahead and scatter the ashes wherever the deceased requested to be scattered, well within reason of course.
 
Back
Top