We just had an interesting question about scattering ashes in a Minnesota lake:
"I would like to scatter ashes on Lake Mille Lacs. Do I need any kind of permit or approval?"
Good question - there are many who would like to scatter loved one's ashes in their favorite Minnesota lake.
The bottom line: there are no regulations for scattering ashes in public lakes in Minnesota. So, there is nothing on the books prohibiting the scattering of ashes - or allowing the scattering of ashes.
So - the policy is basically "don't ask, don't tell." So, you can scatter, just don't give anybody a reason to question your scattering. So, for example:
Plus, for your own sake - be sure to watch the direction of the wind while you are scattering the ashes, to ensure the ashes go in the direction you were planning on having them go.
This sounds like a wonderful, memorable way to say your final good-byes.
We received a question on scattering ashes on lakes in Minnesota:
My brother died and requested that I scatter his ashes over a lake just west of Minneapolis. This is not a private lake - it is a public lake. Is this okay to do?
This is a great question - many want to know the laws and regulations around scattering ashes in Mnnesota. And, bottom line: there are no specific laws for spreading ashes on public lakes in Minnesota.
Some may say that you are "littering", and there are laws against that. However, that is probably a stretch.
It would be a good idea to call the jurisdiction where the lake is located to find if there are specific regulations in that jurisdiction. For example, the city's park board for lakes in city parks, or the Minnesota's Department of Natural Resources for lakes in Minnesota state parks.
When you do scatter the ashes, there are a few things to consider towards respecting others, and being mindful of the impact of the ashes:
This is a great idea! Many enjoy choosing a favorite lake for the spreading ashes, since it provides a peaceful place to go to when you want to remember the loved one.
A question was asked about scattering ashes in a cemetery in Minnesota over someone else's grave. Do you need permission to scatter the ashes? And, if that permission is needed, does it come from the cemetery or from a public authority. Also - is there a permit process or paperwork needed.
As far as the state of Minnesota is concerned, the Minnesota Statute 149A.02 considers cremation a "final disposition". So, a public government authority does not need to be involved.
However, many cemeteries have rules about scattering ashes. For example, Lakewood Cemetery in Minneapolis, MN requires you to go through an authorization and registration process before you can spread ashes in their cemetery. Plus, the cemetery allows you to scatter ashes in only a few areas. So, we would suggest that you call the cemetery to ensure all goes well.
Many of us would like to scatter the ashes of our loved ones in their favorite places, such as one of Minnesota's beautiful parks, or rivers, or other favorite places. And, for the most part, you can scatter the ashes where you want to, as long as you are considerate and get permission from land owners.
However, if you are a Catholic, you might want to ask your priest before scattering ashes to ensure you are making your decisions in accordance with the Catholic guidelines.
The Catholic Chuch has allowed cremation since 1963. But, according to this BC Catholic article, the Catholic Church requires that you treat the ashes as you would a body. So, the ashes should not be scattered but, rather, be buried intact in a sacred ground. For, burying the ashes like this preserves the respect of the person's body, and provides a place where people can go to honor and remember their loved ones.
Scattering ashes can't be undone. So, if you are concerned about following Catholic guidelines, be sure that you have consulted with your priest so you can be comfortable with your decision.
A quesion was asked: "My sister died in another state and her husband is giving some of the ashes to my sister and I. Is it legal for us to spread those ashes in the cemetery where my parents are buried?"
The Answer: Without knowing more, I can't answer the question. There is no restriction on dividing the remains; however, each cemetery has its own set of rules and regulations. Some cemeteries allow this to happen while others may have a fee, such as Lakewood Cemetery. Still others don't allow any scattering of cremated remains, (Fort Snelling National Cemetery) as an example) or may have a special area within the cemetery. It is best to contact the cemetery directly, or we can get you the answer if you give me the name of the cemetery. The Catholic Church does not allow ashes to be divided or scatterd as well.
Guides are being made because there is an increased demand for cremations these days and people may have many questions. Should the remains be kept, scattered or even turned into a diamond? Most ashes these days are scattered in a special place which could have physical and environmental legal ramifications. Sometimes one is not able to obtain permission for where they wish to place their ashes or ashes may cause damages to an area. There are also special memorial gardens for some cases.
Another question on scattering ashes - this time at White Earth Lake, Minnesota:
"My grandma is dying right now. My grandpa died a few years ago, and my dad died about 18 years ago. We would like to scatter all of their ashes at White Earth Lake MN next summer, where we used to own a cabin (my grandparents built it 65 years ago).
Is this legal? If it is, are there any regulations surrounding this process?"
For the most part, if the ashes are to be scattered on private property at White Earh Lake, you will need permission from the land owner. If you want to scatter cremation ashes on public land or a public waterway, you will want to investigate the applicable laws in that jurisdiction. Having said that, most people “don’t ask and don’t tell” when scattering ashes on public proprety.