Can I Scatter Ashes in a National Park or Other Landmark?

Can I Scatter Ashes in a National Park or Other Landmark?

October 10, 2019

After a loved one has been cremated, you have several options when it comes to the cremains. Perhaps you’d like to have a cremation monument made in Phillipsburg, NJ, or maybe you’d prefer to scatter the ashes at a meaningful site. Scattering your loved one’s ashes can be a beautiful expression of closure—but you need to make sure the location allows it before you proceed.

For many, the act of releasing their loved one’s remains into a stunning landscape can bring peace and finality that other memorials didn’t provide. We’re often asked if we know whether you can scatter ashes in a national park, and the answer is that it depends. The most important thing for your memorial is that you look at all applicable local, state and federal laws before you plan your service:

  • National parks usually allow the scattering of ashes: Every park is different, but in general, plan to ask permission from the chief park resident. You might need a permit, and there may be restrictions on where the ashes can be scattered—usually away from developed areas and trails and environmentally fragile areas. It’s a small price to pay for helping your loved one return to a particularly beautiful part of the earth.
  • You’re allowed to scatter ashes in the ocean: In general, scattering ashes at sea is permitted, but laws will vary. The EPA allows human remains to be taken to the ocean, but pets are forbidden. You may be required to be at least three nautical miles out from shore, and you should plan on using easily-biodegradable urns, flowers and other accoutrement.
  • Ask before you scatter on private property: You wouldn’t want someone to scatter ashes in your front yard, so extend the same courtesy to others. Even if the land looks uninhabited, it’s still illegal without permission. Try to get permission from the land owners in writing.
  • You probably will not be allowed to scatter ashes at sports stadiums or theme parks: The stories you’ve heard about scattering ashes at Yankee Stadium or Disneyland might be semi-inspirational, especially if your loved one was a huge fan—but it’s illegal. Don’t risk arrest and legal consequences for the sake of making sure Uncle Jimmy gets to rest with the Mets for eternity. Even if you think your tax dollars paid for the property, you could be risking serious penalties—and the ashes could still be removed from the site.
  • Be considerate: The common thread between all of these tips is to be considerate. Everyone has difficulties in times of grief, and what seems like a good idea to honor your loved one can actually be inconsiderate or even illegal. Do your best to honor your fellow living humans, too.

Cremation monuments in Phillipsburg, NJ

The family owned and operated Phillipsburg Memorial Company has been serving the Lehigh Valley area for over 75 years, and we take pleasure in helping you create the perfect cremation monuments in Phillipsburg, NJ. Our skill and setup allow us to produce beautiful etched memorials in less time. For more information about how a cremation memorial can provide a monument to your deceased loved one, contact us today. We’ll be glad to guide you through the process.

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