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Cremation and Proper Disposing of Ashes

Dear Dr. Dave and Dr. Dee,

My mother says that when she dies, she wants to be cremated and have her ashes sprinkled in a park that she frequents. Would it be proper to scatter the ashes of cremated remains in a park?


Cremation concerns

Dear Cremation concerns,

The ashes from a cremation are considered human remains and cannot be scattered anywhere. Call your local park to find out the proper procedure for disposing of cremated ashes in the park. The park may require a special permit and have a particular place and time during which ash scattering can be done.

There are many options for cremated remains or cremains. The ashes can be kept in an urn and buried at the cemetery or kept in a niche in a mausoleum or columbarium.

Instead of keeping the ashes, the cremains (with proper permits) can be sprinkled in an area of the cemetery, a park, at sea, in the mountains, or scattered from an airplane. Some people have placed ashes in a latex helium balloon and let it fly off.

There are also companies that sell cremation jewelry such as pendants or lockets that contain some of the cremated ash or can create a synthetic diamond from the ashes. Other unusual services for cremated remains include mixing the ashes with paint used to paint a portrait of the deceased, incorporating the ashes into a cement reef that will be placed on the ocean floor, and mixing ashes into glass blown art.

For more information about cremation, see Cremation Association of North America at