Why You Need Permits To Scatter Most Cremains


Scattering a loved one's ashes is a common way of completing a "burial" process when the deceased planned for cremation instead of actual burial in a coffin. While it's legal to scatter ashes, you'll find that in many cases, you need some sort of permit. Burying the ashes in an urn on property you own and scattering ashes far out at sea (several miles offshore) are two times when you usually don't need a permit. Anything else needs permission from a landowner or a government agency. If you're not sure whether you need a permit, or you know you need one but don't know how to get one, the funeral home arranging for the cremation can often help you.

So the Area's Owners Or Managers Know The Cremains Are There

If you're scattering ashes on land that turns out to be someone's private property or a government-run parcel (including city, county, state, and federal lands), you want a permit to show that the owner or land manager knows the cremains are there and has determined that it is okay for the cremains to be there. Cremains often contain bone chips; imagine coming across an unknown pile of these chips. It would be confusing at best and alarming at worst. But if the owner or agency knows that ashes were scattered in the area, it's not nearly as alarming. The permit also shows that the area where you're scattering them is safe enough that the ashes won't pollute nearby water sources or food sources for animals.

So an Area Doesn't Become Overwhelmed With Cremains

Some areas are more popular than others for non-private property scattering. Parks, reserves, beaches — if everyone scattered ashes wherever they wanted, some areas would eventually have too much. Cremains in large quantities are not a benign landscape addition. A permit shows that the area where you want to scatter the ashes can handle them.

So It Can Be Determined Whether Adding Cremains Would Be Safe

Getting a permit also means the owner/managing agency of the area has determined it will be safe from a bystander's point of view. When you scatter ashes, you can bet that that will be the one time when the wind suddenly picks up around you. That wind will carry the ashes away – unless someone is standing in the wind's path. Then, that person will be coated with the cremains. It sounds ludicrous, but it is unfortunately common when you don't plan ash-scattering well. If you scatter the ashes near unsuspecting people, such as on the beach or too close to a shoreline, the wind can scatter the ashes right over those people. With a permit for a specific area, you know that this area will not be one where a lot of people congregate. Or, it will be one where you can arrange for a private ceremony.

Speak with the funeral home or cremation company that is arranging for the cremation. They can help you arrange for those permits.


8 August 2022

Writing an Obituary: Do's and Don'ts

Following the death of my grandfather, I found myself in the awkward position of having to write the obituary. I wanted to capture the spirit of him and list everything he was proud of in his life, including his family and work accomplishments. However, at the same time, I knew that I had a limited amount of space to work with. After spending hours researching obituaries, I finally felt confident in my skills and proceeded to write my grandfather's. In my opinion, it was perfect. Writing an obituary while you are grieving your loss is challenging, but I hope that my website helps you write one for your loved one that helps capture who they were as a person.