The scattering of ashes in national parks is a beautiful way to honor the memory of a loved one. However, it's important to note that different parks have different regulations surrounding this practice. It's essential to research the park's website to find out about permit requirements, rules, and suggested areas for scattering ashes.
Most parks require that you leave no trace behind and avoid environmentally sensitive areas. Additionally, it's crucial to check your state's laws regarding cremation as they can vary.
National forest lands generally do not allow scattering of ashes, but many national parks do. We've researched some of our favorite national parks that allow this practice.
Acadia National Park in Maine requires a special use permit for ash scattering, but there is no charge. Crater Lake National Park in Southern Oregon also allows ash scattering with a permit. However, the site you choose cannot be inside the park's caldera, on Wizard Island, or on the lake side of the road that travels along the rim.
At Glacier National Park in Montana, you will need a special use permit to scatter ashes in an undeveloped area of the park. Similarly, at the Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming, a permit is required for ash scattering, and the administrators ask for it two weeks in advance of the event. There is no fee, and the park evaluates each request based on the application.
The Great Smoky Mountains National Park in Tennessee and North Carolina requires only that you download a letter of permission from its website and have it with you during the scattering if fewer than 25 people will attend.
Joshua Tree National Park in California allows ash scattering at one location for free, but you'll need a permit. There is a $500 fine if you don’t get the required permit. At Olympic National Park in Washington State, a special use permit is required for ceremonies, including ash scattering.
At Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado, a permit is required at no charge, but there are rules to follow. The park offers suggested locations to scatter ashes on its website and advises that mornings will be less crowded and more private.
Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming allows ash scattering with a copy of the park’s webpage serving as a permit. Families are asked to notify the park and follow the rules on the website. It's important to note that scattering ashes is not allowed in thermal areas.
Finally, at California's Yosemite National Park, you can scatter ashes with a permit. The park has specific rules about where to scatter ashes, including that it must be out of sight of public areas and not in a dry or running creek bed. Additionally, nothing can be left behind as a marker, but the chapel keeps a Book of Memories with the names of the deceased.
We hope that the beauty and majesty of our nation's national parks serve as a fitting tribute to your loved one's appreciation of nature and country. However, please remember to follow the park's guidelines and regulations to ensure that this practice is carried out respectfully and responsibly.