Scattering Ashes in Maryland
Scattering ashes involves releasing them outdoors where they decompose and become one with nature. These types of ash scattering ceremonies have become more and more popular, and we have worked with many families to plan the perfect service.
Scattering ashes involves spreading a love one’s ashes at an outdoor location and allowing these ashes to rest with nature. Many families like to hold an entire ceremony revolving around the scattering. We have organized and executed many ash scattering ceremonies, and they seem to becoming more popular.
First Question: Where can I Scatter the Ashes?
Choosing a location might be the most difficult choice when planning an ash scattering ceremony. Before we provide some examples, let’s review some common regulations on where you can and cannot scatter ashes.
For the exact bi-laws we would have to contact the specific local agency that governs the location/area.
For private property that you own, you are able to scatter without permission or without any issue. For property owned by other individuals or parties, you must obtain permission before scattering. To avoid any legal trouble, get signed and dated written permission from the property owner before scattering.
For some public places such as local parks, several cities require you to obtain a scattering permit. For uncontrolled public lands, often there are no regulations or restrictions, but we have to use our best judgement. Under any situation, do not spread ashes within 100 yards of any public trails or roads.
Amusement Parks & Sports Stadiums
Sports venues and amusement parks have thousands of visitors every year, but people need to remember that these locations are not public spaces. You can ask for permission to scatter ashes at these venues but often these requests are declined. If you scatter without permission, these venues will likely call the police and the ashes will be removed.
According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), scattering ashes at sea or over oceans is permitted but there are a couple of rules. The scattering must occur from boat or plane at least 3 nautical miles from the coastline. Furthermore, after finishing the scattering you must notify the EPA within 30 days.
The scattering of ashes over inland waters such as rivers, ponds, and lakes is not subject to the federal regulations we discussed above. We will work with your local environmental agency, mortuary board, or city office to learn about the specific laws that apply to each body of water.
Most National Parks give you permission to scatter ashes, but there are usually some rules you have to follow. Make sure you speak with the chief park ranger, get written permission, and clearly understand any specific rules. Similar to scattering ashes in public spaces, stay away from trails or developed areas that receive a lot of regular foot traffic. National Parks are gorgeous and memorable locations to have ash scattering ceremonies.
Overall, use common sense and consider others when scattering ashes. Scatter the ashes in areas that are not busy, and where they can lie in peace.
Ideas for Ash Scattering
A flower garden. If your loved one was a gardener, this is a great spot.
A dog park. Great location if your loved one was a dog lover.
The Cottage. Many people love going to their cottage because it is a great place to rest and relax in peace. Why not allow your loved one’s ashes lie in peace at a relaxing place.
Types of Ash Scattering Ceremonies
When people first think about scattering ashes, often what comes to mind is the tossing and dispersing of cremation ashes into the air. This type of ash scattering is called a casting ceremony. People find that the casting ceremony helps symbolize the freeing or letting go of their loved one’s spirit.
Aerial ash scattering has been quickly growing in popularity. For this type of scattering ceremony, we will work with a private company that will fly your loved one’s ashes into the sky and release them. Aerial scattering can be done by plane, helicopter, hot air balloon, or even by a hang glider.
As opposed to casting ashes over water, we can organize what’s referred to as a water ceremony which sees the cremation ashes put into a water-soluble urn. The urn will be placed in the water, it will float for a couple minutes before it begins to sink and dissolve. To conclude the ceremony, guests will often toss flowers, petals, or wreaths into the water as one final tribute. However, ensure the flowers or wreaths can easily decompose.
Our Cremation eBook delves into ash scattering deeper. It expands on the types of ceremonies above and provides more types. For a more complete look at ash scattering and cremation as a whole, download our eBook.