This edition of state-by-state guides to scattering ashes focuses on the state of Alaska. This amazing state is home to a stunning coastline, incredible glaciers, breathtaking mountains, and beautiful flowing rivers.
With a growing number of people in Alaska choosing cremation and electing to have their cremated ashes scattered, funeral directors in the state receive a lot of questions every day about scattering. This includes whether or not scattering is allowed, where you can scatter in the state, if ashes are harmful to our health, and what urn should be used to scatter. In this state guide, we highlight important information related to storing and scattering ashes in the state of Alaska.
Regulations on Scattering Ashes in Alaska
In Alaska, there are no state laws that restrict where you can store or scatter the ashes of a person or pet. Ashes can be kept in a grave, crypt, niche, urn, or any other container you choose. If your plan is to have your ashes scattered, or if you’re interested in scattering the ashes of a loved one or pet, there are many beautiful places where this can be done in Alaska.
Where to Scatter Ashes in Alaska?
With such stunning scenery existing throughout Alaska, many people choose to have their ashes scattered in the state. In addition, having a memorial service at the scattering event is becoming more and more common. This can occur before, during, or after the actual scattering and can be a great time to gather friends and family and reflect on the loved one who passed.
Below we highlight some of the most popular places where people in Alaska choose to have their ashes scattered or where they choose to scatter the ashes of a loved one (or pet).
- At Sea – with Alaska’s unmatched coastline, a scattering at sea is a popular memorial option. If a scattering at sea, or sea burial, is something you’re interested in and you don’t have access to a boat, reach out to your local funeral director or do a quick internet search to find a boating company near you that offers this service. In addition, it’s important to know that federal law states that ashes need to be scattered, at minimum, 3 nautical miles from shore. Also, the Environmental Protection Agency requires that they’re notified within 30 days of a scattering at sea taking place.
- Public Land – Alaska has a ton of stunning places where families can scatter their loved one’s ashes. Even without state laws restricting scattering, if you’re planning on doing this on public land, it’s recommended to contact the borough or city offices in the area where you plan on scattering to find out if any local rules or regulations are in place. Also, it’s important to point out that the resulting ashes from cremation are harmless and do not pose any health risks.
- National Parks – Alaska is home to 24 National Parks that attract nearly 3 million visitors each year! These are popular places where families across the country are interested in scattering a loved one or pet’s ashes. Since every National Park has its own rules and regulations concerning scattering, it’s recommended to reach out to the park ranger’s office at the National Park where you plan on scattering to learn if it’s allowed or not, and what rules exist.
- Private Property – in Alaska, as with most other states, there are no laws restricting you from scattering ashes in your yard or on other private property that you own. If you’re interested in scattering ashes on private property owned by someone else, be sure to reach out and get their permission first.
- By Air – similar to most states, Alaska has no state laws that restrict scattering ashes from an airplane. Just make sure that whoever does the actual scattering holds onto the urn or other container used to scatter – U.S. aviation law restricts letting go of any objects from the sky that can cause damage to property or hurt people.
- Scattering Gardens – with the growing number of people choosing to scatter a loved one’s ashes in Alaska, many cemeteries and churches in the state have developed scattering gardens. These are designated areas located on their property where people are allowed to scatter ashes. If a scattering garden is of interest to you, reaching out to your local church or funeral director to help you identify one or more options near you.
How to Scatter Ashes?
With more and more people in Alaska choosing cremation over burial (primarily due to a much lower cremation cost, among other reasons), as well as an increased interest in scattering ashes, many new and unique urn options have recently been introduced that are specifically designed to scatter.
Below we highlight a few of the more popular urns used to scatter:
Eco Water Urn
With its amazing coastline, many people who live in Alaska choose to be scattered at sea. The biodegradable Eco Water Urn has become a leading urn option used to perform a scattering at sea and is available online and also offered by leading funeral homes nationwide. This patent pending urn floats on the water like a buoy, until the bottom half of the urn breaks apart and the ashes are gracefully released into the water. The Eco Water Urn comes packaged in a special bamboo protective casing, which serves as a wonderful way to safely travel with the urn to that special place on the water.
Eco Scattering Urn
The patented Eco Scattering Urn is made entirely from bamboo, a sustainable, eco-friendly resource. This unique scattering urn is available online and at thousands of funeral homes across the U.S. It has a special open and close locking mechanism on top of the urn that gives you the ability to scatter with control and ease and also allows you to secure the ashes in the urn while traveling to that special place to scatter. The Eco Scattering Urn can be laser engraved for a reasonable price (and include your loved one’s name, date of birth and death, a saying, and a symbol of choice). This special urn is an affordable option that is quickly becoming the leading choice of many in the funeral industry.
Scattering Urns Manufactured from Paper
There a number of urns designed to scatter that are manufactured from paper and are available at local funeral homes. These commonly come with a landscape image or other design printed on the outside of the urn. They are fairly straightforward to load and use and are a lower cost option to many other urns. However, paper scattering urns come with a few drawbacks, including that the integrity of the urn can be affected if it gets wet (so try not to scatter in a weather event) and an added step of gluing part of the urn together is required after the ashes are loaded.
More Than One Memorial
With more and more people choosing to be cremated, many new urns and memorial options have become available. With so many new uplifting options, many families elect to have more than one memorial for a loved one. This can involve scattering a portion of the ashes at a special place, then include a portion or all of the remaining ashes in a Living Urn bio urn to grow a memory tree, in a beautiful stone or piece of jewelry, or in a colorful glass decoration, among many other options.