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Scattering Ashes


Are you curious about cremation and, therefore, have Scattering Ashes questions? These are the answers to Scattering Ashes questions submitted so far. If you don't find an answer to your cremation question - then ask your own Scattering Ashes question - or any other cremation question - now.

  • Scattering Ashes in the Boundary Waters in MN? sticky icon

    Have questions about ash scattering in the Boundary Waters? Watch our video about scattering ashes in the Boundary Waters for guidelines and information:

    We get many questions about scattering ashes in Minnesota's beautiful parks, lakes, forests and wildlife areas. Towards that, our beloved Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness (BWCAW) comes up quite often.

    The Boundary Waters can provide expansive solitude, combined with awe-inspiring wilderness, so it is a natural place to think about for scattering ashes. 

    Scattering of ashes is permitted in the Boundary Waters. Keep in mind that when you are scattering ashes in the Boundary Waters - or any of our public lands -  the main principles are:

    • Leave no trace behind
    • Respect others

    Towards that:

    • Do not use motorized or mechanized equipment in non-motorized/mechanized areas when scattering ashes. Examples include:
      • Flights below 4,000 feet
      • Motorboats
      • Sailboats
      • Snowmobiles
      • ATV's
    • Be mindful of the wind and where the cremation ashes may drift and settle.
    • Do not scatter ashes near public areas such as:
      • entry points
      • trails
      • campsites
      • portages where visitors may be pumping drinking or cooking water
      • swimming areas
      • over the water's edge
    • Follow the "Leave No Trace" ethics by:
      • "scattering" or "fanning" the ashes, rather than placing the ashes all in one location.
      • not scattering large quantities of cremation ashes in wet, boggy, or marshy areas where fish or wildlife of any kind could be negatively impacted.
      • not leaving visible mounds of cremated ashes.
      • ensuring the ashes truly are only ash and not bones or metal.
      • not leaving memorial type plaques, markers, headstones, urns, containers, or other devices to commemorate the loss of a loved one. Only leave the scattered ashes.
    • Respect others by conducting your ceremony discreetly, away from others. Be aware that visitors may be uncomfortable with your words and/or actions, as it isn't part of the usual wilderness experience.
    • And, overall, be sure to observe all wilderness rules and regulations

    BWCAW Entry Permit

    No special permit is required for scattering ashes. However, a permit is ALWAYS required to enter the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness.

    For more information, contact the USDA Forest service for the Superior National Forest for more information about scattering ashes in the Boundary Waters

    And, for general questions about cremation ashes, just ask your questions about scattering ashes now.

  • How do you bury loved one’s ashes in Minnesota?

    I just need to have my loved one's ashes buried. How? My dad's ashes are currently in storage at home in a small, wooden container. How can I have them buried legally and inexpensively to bring some closure to the family? Ideally, the family could be present for this and I would like to say a few words at that time.

    Good question - there are many in your exact circumstance. And, towards that, there are many options for your loved one’s ashes.

    Bury the ashes in a cemetery

    You can bury the ashes in a cemetery in various ways:

  • Can I scatter ashes on Mille Lacs?

    Scatter ashes Mille Lacs lake in MinnesotaWe 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. Read more »

  • What are the laws for spreading ashes in Park Point, Duluth and Two Harbors Lighthouse?

    Scatter ashes Park Point 2 Harbors in Minnesota

    A new Minnesota Cremation question was asked:

    Both of my parents were born in the Duluth area. I would like to know the laws pertaining to spreading their ashes. My mom wanted to have her ashes spread on Park Point, I would like to spread my dad near the Two Harbors Lighthouse:

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