Where Can You Scatter Ashes?

A woman is scattering ashes of a loved one by a Midwestern Lake.

Simply Cremations & Funeral Care will return the ashes of your loved one to you in a temporary box a cremation urn of your choosing. You can then hold a memorial service with friends and family, or choose other options, like scattering ashes in a separate ceremony.

What you wish to do with the ashes is up to you.

Your first option is not to scatter the ashes but instead keeping the ashes in a cremation urn. This urn can be made from different types of materials, such as bronze or wood, and can be stored at home or in a cemetery columbarium. Urns can also be made from biodegradable materials, allowing you to have a natural and green burial.

When you do decide to scatter the ashes, choosing the location can be a challenge. A family can choose to scatter the ashes at home, in a cemetery, or at another meaningful location. This location should hold some importance to the deceased, such as a favorite vacation spot or in the place they grew up.

However, scattering ashes can bring some complications, and you should be familiar with what your state does and does not allow. There are currently no Michigan state laws that control where you may scatter ashes. Federal law, however, restricts your choices.

If you choose private land, be sure to have permission from whoever owns the land. If you scatter at a cemetery, you may need to follow strict rules or pay a cost. Michigan does allow scattering ashes on the water, but federal law states that spreading ashes on the sea is considered a burial at sea. You are first required to report the burial at sea to the Environmental Protection Agency, and you must be at least 3 miles away from the shore before scattering ashes.

Spreading ashes in state parks or on public land is generally acceptable, but check with the city and county for regulations and zoning rules. If you choose scattering ashes on a lake within a state park, the Clean Water Act requires that you have a permit from the local government.

Though scattering ashes at a state park is relatively simple, the rules slightly change for federal land. Officially, you should request permission first, but you can also find some guidelines for scattering ashes on websites for some national parks.

The choices you make for the ashes are entirely up to you, but Simply Cremations & Funeral Care can help guide you in those decisions. We are also there to help you along the entire cremation process, starting with the pre-planning stages. Simply Cremation & Funeral Care is available to assist you at any time. Our mission is to offer excellence in our service while providing the compassion, sincerity & understanding needed by families we serve.