What You Should Know About Scattering Cremated Remains

One of the reasons cremation is appealing to many people is that it offers an alternative to cemetery burial. After cremation , loved ones may choose to keep the cremated remains in a mausoleum or other structure within the cemetery, in an urn at home, or in some other type of memorial, such as cremation jewelry. Cremated remains can even be divided among family members or used in more than one kind of memorial. One choice some people make is to scatter some or all of the cremated remains. This choice is often part of honoring a loved one’s wishes, who may have specified during funeral pre-planning that he or she would prefer that the cremated remains be scattered in a specific place. However, can you simply scatter cremated remains anywhere you choose? Here is what you need to know.

Public Lands

Before you scatter cremated remains on public land, you must investigate both the federal and state laws that govern those areas. Generally, you can scatter remains on public land as long as you receive the appropriate permission first. For national parks, you must request permission from the Chief Park Ranger, in accordance with federal laws. In Washington State, you can scatter in state trust uplands with the permission of the appropriate regional manager, as long as you are not using a commercial scattering service.

Public Waters

Washington allows cremated remains to be scattered throughout public waterways that are controlled by the state. These waters include the Puget Sound and Strait of Juan de Fuca, as well as rivers, streams, and lakes. The Pacific Ocean falls under the domain of the federal government, and EPA rules state that cremated remains must be scattered at least three nautical miles from land. You must also alert the EPA to the scattering within 30 days.

Private Land

In Washington, with the permission of the landowner, you can scatter cremated remains on any privately owned land. Note that laws may differ in different states.

​​Mountain View Funeral Home, Memorial Park & Crematory can answer all of your questions about cremation near Lakewood, Washington, including questions about planning a cremation ceremony . To learn more, please call (253) 584-0252.

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