Guide To Scattering Ashes In New York

by ECL Writer
Scattering Ashes In New York

Saying goodbye to a loved one is never easy, but for those who choose cremation, deciding how to scatter the ashes can be a meaningful and cathartic process. However, before scattering ashes in New York, it’s important to understand the legal and practical considerations to ensure that the process is done respectfully and safely. In this article, Eastcoastlaws.com will provide a comprehensive guide to scattering ashes in New York, including the legal implications, environmental regulations, and practical considerations to keep in mind. Whether you are considering scattering ashes on private property or in a public space, this guide will help you navigate the process with confidence and respect for your loved one’s memory.

Is It Illegal To Spread Ashes in New York

In New York, there are no state laws controlling where you may keep or scatter ashes6. However, it is always recommended to check with your local city or county offices to find out if there are any local rules in place. New York City Parks, including Central Park, allow for the scattering of cremated remains on its land, but there are guidelines to follow. Here are some key guidelines for scattering ashes in New York City Parks:

  • Cremated remains must be fine and must be scattered to complete dispersal.
  • Do not scatter remains on playgrounds, athletic fields, restricted areas, developed facilities, hard surfaces, or heavily trafficked areas.
  • Do not scatter remains in a body of water without permission from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation.
  • Please be respectful of other park patrons in the vicinity when you are scattering cremated remains.

It is also legal to scatter ashes on private land with the permission of the owner. If you want to scatter ashes on someone else’s private land, it’s wise to get permission from the landowner. If you wish to scatter ashes on local public land, such as in a city park, it is recommended to check both city and county regulations and zoning rules before scattering ashes

Scattering Ashes In New York

We get inquiries from people every day who want to know if there are any restrictions on scattering cremated remains of a loved one or pet in their yard, on other people’s land, in parks, in lakes, or in rivers, among many other locations. We’ve highlighted key details about keeping and spreading ashes in the state of New York in this guide. We also give you the resources you need to memorialize your loved one in New York in a respectful and lawful manner by providing information on it as well.

Like many other states, New York does not have any regulations that apply to keeping or scattering ashes at the state level. It is usually advised to check with your local municipal or county authorities to see whether there are any local rules in existence, even in the absence of any state laws. If you intend to disperse at one of these parks, it is vital to first confirm that any conditions must be satisfied before you scatter there. National and State parks each have their own unique set of regulations to follow (many will require you to submit a form prior to scattering). You can find their phone number at the park by doing a short online search; just call them; they’re happy to help! The cremated remains can be kept in a household urn, another container, a crypt, a niche, or a grave. Because the ashes are rendered harmless by the cremation process, there are no health hazards associated with storing or scattering them. (Read About New York Cremation Laws)

Different Ways To Scatter Ashes In New York

Scattering ashes is a deeply personal and meaningful way to honor the memory of a loved one who has been cremated. In New York, there are many options for scattering ashes, from scattering in the air to scattering on land or water. Here are some of the most common ways to scatter ashes in New York:

  • Scattering in the air: Scattering ashes from an airplane is legal in New York, but it requires a permit from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). Alternatively, ashes can be scattered by hand or with a scattering tube in a location that is meaningful to the family, such as a favorite park or scenic overlook.
  • Scattering on land: Ashes can be scattered on private property with the permission of the property owner, or on public lands such as a national park or forest. It’s important to check with the relevant authority to ensure that scattering is allowed and to obtain any necessary permits.
  • Scattering on Water: Ashes can be scattered in bodies of water such as lakes, rivers, and oceans, but it’s important to follow the regulations set forth by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC). In freshwater bodies, a permit from the DEC is required, while scattering in saltwater is generally allowed but should be done at least three nautical miles from the coast.
  • Biodegradable urns: Biodegradable urns are designed to dissolve in water or soil, and can be used for scattering ashes in a more environmentally friendly way. Some options include urns made from natural materials such as sand, salt, or paper, which dissolve quickly and do not harm the environment.
  • Memorial reefs: Memorial reefs are artificial structures made from environmentally friendly materials such as concrete or recycled oyster shells, and can be used to create a lasting tribute to a loved one while also supporting marine life.

No matter how you choose to scatter the ashes of a loved one in New York, it’s important to do so with respect and consideration for the environment and others around you. By following the regulations and guidelines set forth by the state and local authorities, you can create a meaningful and lasting tribute to your loved one’s memory.

Places To Scatter Ashes In New York

Many families decide to disperse a loved one or pet’s ashes in a spot that holds special meaning for them or in another area of their choosing after their passing. In a time of intense grief and sorrow, the act of sprinkling ashes can console families and friends. A memorial ceremony can be a lovely way to memorialize a loved one and make the event special for everyone who attends before, during, or after the dispersal.

In New York, there are many lovely locations to disperse a loved one’s ashes. We’ve selected a few of the more typical ones below:

  • Scattering Gardens – with the increase in the number of people choosing cremation, many churches, memorial parks, and cemeteries in New York provide specially designated areas where people are able to scatter the ashes of a loved one. These are typically referred to as scattering gardens and can easily be found by speaking with staff at your local church or funeral director.
  • Private Property – like many other states, in New York you’re allowed to scatter the ashes of a loved one on your own private property or the privately owned property of another person or organization (as long as you have their permission).
  • Public Land – with its abundance of trees and parks, ocean, and rivers, New York has some of the most beautiful natural places in the country!. If you would like to scatter on public land, it is always a good idea to check with your local city or county offices first to see if any local regulations exist or if any permits are needed.
  • Federal Land – prior to scattering a loved one’s ashes on federal land it is advised to request permission first. Also, be considerate to others and avoid scattering ashes on trails or other areas where many people congregate. Many National Parks allow scattering, however, a permit is typically required first. If you plan on scattering at a National Park, a quick call to the park ranger’s office or an internet search can provide you with the necessary permit and regulation information.
  • Water Scattering – water burials have been a long-standing tradition of many families living on the East Coast. The United States Federal Clean Water Act allows people to scatter ashes at sea as long as it’s done 3 nautical miles from shore. In addition, you must notify the U.S. EPA within 30 days of scattering ashes at sea. Most harbors in New York (including many in Long Island) have boating services that will take you out to sea to do the scattering.
  • By Air – similar to other states, we are not aware of any New York state laws related to scattering cremated ashes from an airplane, helicopter, hot air balloon, or drone. However, make sure you do not drop the container or scattering urn that’s holding the ashes as they’re being scattered – federal law prohibits letting go of any objects from the air that can potentially cause harm to people or property.

What Can You Use To Scatter Ashes In New York?

When it comes to scattering ashes in New York, there are several options available for containers or urns that can be used to hold the cremated remains during the scattering process. Here are some of the most common options:

  • Scattering tubes: Scattering tubes are specially designed containers that are made to hold the cremated remains securely while scattering. They are typically made from cardboard or paperboard and feature an easy-open tab that allows for a controlled release of the ashes.
  • Biodegradable urns: Biodegradable urns are designed to dissolve in water or soil, making them an eco-friendly option for scattering ashes. They can be made from materials such as salt, sand, or paper, and are available in a range of designs and sizes.
  • Keepsake urns: Keepsake urns are small containers that can hold a portion of the cremated remains. They are often used to distribute the ashes among family members or to keep a small portion of the ashes as a keepsake.
  • DIY containers: Some families choose to use DIY containers, such as a favorite vase or decorative jar, to hold the cremated remains during scattering. However, it’s important to ensure that the container is sturdy enough to hold the ashes securely and that it will not break or leak during the scattering process.

No matter which type of container is used for scattering ashes in New York, it’s important to follow the guidelines and regulations set forth by the state and local authorities. This includes obtaining any necessary permits and choosing a location that is safe and appropriate for scattering. By choosing a container that is appropriate for your needs and preferences, you can help create a meaningful and respectful tribute to your loved one’s memory.

Planning A Memorial Or Scattering Ceremony In New York

Planning a memorial or scattering ceremony in New York can be a meaningful way to honor the memory of a loved one who has been cremated. Here are some steps to follow when planning a memorial or scattering ceremony in New York:

  • Choose a location: When planning a memorial or scattering ceremony, it’s important to choose a location that is meaningful to the family and appropriate for scattering ashes. This could be a favorite park or scenic overlook, a private property with the permission of the owner, or a designated scattering garden or memorial park.
  • Check the regulations: Before planning a scattering ceremony, it’s important to check the regulations set forth by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and any other relevant authorities. Depending on the location and method of scattering, a permit may be required.
  • Decide on a format: Memorial and scattering ceremonies can take many different forms, from a simple gathering of family and friends to a larger ceremony with readings, music, and other elements. Consider the preferences of the deceased and their family when planning the ceremony.
  • Choose a date and time: Once the location and format have been decided, choose a date and time that works for all participants. It’s important to be mindful of any religious or cultural traditions that may influence the timing of the ceremony.
  • Notify participants: Make sure to notify all participants of the date, time, and location of the ceremony well in advance. Consider sending out invitations or creating a Facebook event to ensure that everyone is aware of the details.
  • Prepare for the ceremony: Depending on the format of the ceremony, you may need to prepare readings, music, or other elements. It’s also important to ensure that all necessary permits and paperwork are in order.

Planning a memorial or scattering ceremony in New York can be a meaningful way to honor the memory of a loved one. By following these steps and being mindful of the regulations and guidelines set forth by the state and local authorities, you can create a ceremony that is respectful and meaningful to all involved.

Alternatives To Scattering Ashes In New York

Scattering ashes may not be the right option for everyone when it comes to honoring the memory of a loved one who has been cremated. Fortunately, there are many alternatives to scattering ashes in New York. Here are some options to consider:

  • Keep the ashes at home: Some families choose to keep cremated remains at home in an urn or other container. This allows for easy access and may provide a sense of comfort and closeness to the deceased.
  • Bury the ashes: Burying the ashes in a cemetery or other designated location can be a meaningful way to honor the memory of a loved one. Depending on the location and burial site, a permit may be required.
  • Create a memorial garden: Some families choose to create a memorial garden in honor of their loved ones, using plants, flowers, and other elements to create a peaceful and beautiful space.
  • Donate the ashes to science: Some families choose to donate the cremated remains to science for research or educational purposes.
  • Incorporate the ashes into jewelry or art: There are many artists and jewelers who specialize in creating custom pieces that incorporate a small amount of cremated remains. This allows for a unique and personalized tribute to the deceased.
  • Scatter the ashes in a memorial park: Some memorial parks have designated areas for scattering ashes, allowing for a peaceful and respectful final resting place.

When choosing an alternative to scattering ashes in New York, it’s important to consider the preferences of the deceased and their family, as well as any regulations and guidelines set forth by the state and local authorities. With careful consideration and planning, you can create a meaningful and lasting tribute to your loved one’s memory.

Environmental Considerations For Scattering Ashes In New York

When scattering ashes in New York, it’s important to be mindful of the environmental impact of this practice. Here are some environmental considerations to keep in mind:

  • Choose a location carefully: When choosing a location to scatter ashes, be mindful of the impact that the ashes may have on the environment. For example, scattering ashes in a waterway can potentially harm aquatic life.
  • Use eco-friendly urns: If you choose to use an urn for scattering ashes, consider using an eco-friendly option made from biodegradable materials that will break down naturally over time.
  • Avoid scattering ashes in areas with sensitive ecosystems: Some areas, such as wetlands or wildlife habitats, may be particularly sensitive to the impact of human activity. Avoid scattering ashes in these areas to minimize environmental impact.
  • Be mindful of wind and weather conditions: When scattering ashes, be mindful of wind and weather conditions to ensure that the ashes are dispersed in a safe and respectful manner. Avoid scattering ashes in high winds or in areas where the ashes may be carried into sensitive areas.
  • Consider other environmental impact factors: In addition to scattering ashes, consider other environmental impact factors, such as transportation to the scattering location and the use of materials for the ceremony or urn.

By being mindful of these environmental considerations when scattering ashes in New York, you can ensure that this practice is respectful and sustainable. It’s important to remember that scattering ashes can have an impact on the environment, and taking steps to minimize that impact is important for the health and well-being of our planet.

Scattering Ashes In Hudson River

Scattering ashes in the Hudson River is allowed in New York. However, it is important to follow the regulations set forth by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC)2. In freshwater bodies, a permit from the DEC is required, while scattering in saltwater is generally allowed but should be done at least three nautical miles from the coast. If you want to scatter ashes in the Hudson River, you can do so from a boat. There are yachts that will allow you to scatter ashes in the Hudson River, the East River, and other areas of NY Harbor. If you choose to scatter ashes on a boat, it is important to follow the guidelines set forth by the boat company and to be respectful of other passengers.

Is It Legal To Spread Ashes In The Ocean?

According to the US Environmental Protection Agency, it is legal to scatter ashes at sea, but certain conditions must be met. The scattering of ashes at sea is governed by federal regulations like the Clean Water Act and the EPA, which require that ashes be scattered at least three nautical miles from shore. Additionally, any container used to scatter ashes must be biodegradable. It is important to note that scattering ashes in inland waters is illegal in some states. Therefore, it is recommended to check with the state’s mortuary board, environmental agency, or health agency to learn more about the relevant laws before scattering ashes in inland waters.

FAQs About Scattering Ashes In New York

Q: Is scattering ashes legal in New York?

A: Yes, scattering ashes is legal in New York. However, it’s important to follow state and local regulations when scattering ashes to ensure that it’s done in a respectful and legal manner.

Q: Do I need a permit to scatter ashes in New York?

A: No, you don’t need a permit to scatter ashes in New York. However, it’s important to be mindful of the location and any regulations or guidelines set forth by state and local authorities.

Q: Can I scatter ashes in a public park or on a beach in New York?

A: It depends on the location and any regulations set forth by state and local authorities. In some cases, scattering ashes in public areas may not be allowed or may require permission from the appropriate authorities.

Q: Can I scatter ashes on private property in New York?

A: Yes, scattering ashes on private property is generally allowed in New York, but it’s important to obtain permission from the property owner before doing so.

Q: Can I scatter ashes in a river or other body of water in New York?

A: Yes, scattering ashes in a river or other body of water is allowed in New York. However, it’s important to be mindful of the environmental impact and any regulations set forth by state and local authorities.

Q: Can I scatter ashes at a national park or other protected areas in New York?

A: It depends on the specific park or protected area and any regulations set forth by the National Park Service or other authorities. In some cases, scattering ashes may be allowed in designated areas or may require permission from the appropriate authorities.

Q: Can I scatter ashes at a sports stadium or other public venue in New York?

A: It’s unlikely that scattering ashes at a sports stadium or other public venue would be allowed, as it may pose a safety risk and could be considered a form of trespassing. It’s best to choose a location that’s appropriate and respectful for scattering ashes.

Q: Is there a specific time limit for scattering ashes in New York?

A: No, there’s no specific time limit for scattering ashes in New York. However, it’s important to be respectful of the deceased and their wishes when planning a scattering ceremony.

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