Scattering your loved one’s ashes in a stunning national park is a beautiful and meaningful way to say goodbye and lay them to rest. Maybe your loved one had a favorite national park, or perhaps you’re simply looking for a lovely one close by. Most national parks allow ash scattering with a permit, but that is at the discretion of the park director. Look up the national park you’re considering on the National Parks Service website for their scattering rules or contact info. Please keep reading for more information on ash scattering at popular national parks, and some ash scattering ceremony tips, including how to record your loved one’s resting place on Ecorial.
Which National Parks Allow Ash Scattering?
Can you scatter ashes in a national park? It depends, but most parks allow ash scattering. Here is a list of parks that do allow ash scattering. Even though these parks permit ash scattering, you’ll still need to obtain a permit and look up their official guidelines.
- Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado
- Yosemite National Park in California
- Olympic National Park in Washington
- Great Smoky Mountains National Park in North Carolina and Tennessee
- Zion National Park in Utah
- Yellowstone National Park in Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming
How to Scatter Ashes in a National Park
While each park has individual rules, here are the guidelines from the Rocky Mountain National Park, a popular location for ash scattering.
- Fill out the appropriate permit from the Chief Ranger’s office.
- Choose a location that is away from developed areas. These include trails, picnic grounds, campsites, and parking lots. Your scattering location must be away from any water.
- Don’t disturb other park visitors with your ceremony. Do so by choosing a private location and time, such as morning, when fewer park visitors are present.
- Don’t leave any signs behind. Spread out ashes thoroughly—do not leave them in a pile.
- You may not leave any physical marker behind, such as a stone or plaque. You can, however, create an online memorial, with the scattering location, on Ecorial’s Memorial Map.
- Carry your letter of approval or permit with you.
How Much Does It Cost to Scatter Ashes in a National Park?
The cost of scattering ashes in a National Park will vary depending on the park you choose. All regular park fees, such as entrance and parking, will be applicable, ranging from $5 to $20. Please ensure all your guests know what they’ll need to pay to enter the national park.
Permits for scattering ashes will run from free to about $50. So, it will be very affordable, especially in contrast to standard service fees, even if you’re charged a rate on the high side. If researching national parks and their rules is too much for you, that’s ok, and it makes sense. This task is easily delegated to a helpful family member or friend.
Ideas for a Scattering Ceremony in a Park
A scattering ceremony in a national park is a lovely way to lay a precious soul to rest. Here are some ideas for what to say and a how-to guide for marking your loved one’s resting place on Ecorial.
- What to say while scattering ashes
This is a time to speak from the heart, or if your own words won’t easily come, then use poetry, song lyrics, or scripture to do the talking for you. There isn’t a wrong way to speak at an ash-scattering ceremony. Even if you cry or are overcome with emotion, that in and of itself is a testament to the love you have for the person who passed. Have more than one speaker planned in case you need a backup.
- How to record the scattering site
A meaningful part of your ash scattering ceremony is when you record the scattering and mark the spot where you laid your loved one to rest on Ecorial’s interactive memorial map. It’s straightforward to do.
- Download the Ecorial app for Apple or Android before the ceremony and skim its features while you have a signal.
- You can record your loved one’s resting place on Ecorial before, during, or after the ceremony. It might be helpful to ask someone else to do this for you at an inconspicuous moment. Before the ash scattering, you can also do the first part of this process, which might be easier.
- To record the location of your loved one’s scattered ashes, open the Ecorial app. This will take you to the My Memorials page.
- Click “Create a New Memorial.”
- Enter your loved one’s full name or initials. If you’re keeping their memorial public, then how you enter their name will be how other family and loved ones will be able to find the online memorial location.
- After you enter your loved one’s name or initials, select public or private for their memorial. You can still share their memorial if you keep it private.
- Now, you’ll have the option to upload a photo of your loved one, but this can also be done later.
- Next, you’ll add a tagline, dates of birth and death, and a short bio.
- When it’s time to record the scattering location, click “Record spot,” choose the option to record your exact location, and enter the time and date of the ceremony.
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