This is the first installment of state-by-state rules related to scattering ashes. What better state to start with than our beautiful home State of Colorado! Please check back from time to time to read our other state guides which we plan to release regularly over time. At The Living Urn, we are often asked what the rules are for scattering ashes at home, at the local parks and in local waters. We’ve created a simple guide that can help you memorialize your loved one in a way that is legal, safe and respectful.
The state of Colorado has few limits to scattering ashes. The cremation process renders ashes harmless and there is no related health risk related to scattering ashes but it is always advisable to use common sense when scattering and avoid places that may be offensive to others.
Even though the State of Colorado has few limits on scattering ashes, each county and city may have their own rules or regulations. Also, the state parks and national parks do have their own rules. The best thing to do is to simply look up your intended location online and search their website. You can also just give them a call and find out if there are any regulations from the authority who oversees your chosen location.
Places to Scatter Ashes in Colorado
When experiencing the loss of a loved one, scattering ashes at a special place of meaning or a scenic outdoor location can bring comfort during a time of grieving. Having a memorial service outdoors alone or with friends and family to scatter the ashes of a lost loved one can be a beautiful experience.
- Private Land - in Colorado, along with most other states, you are permitted to scatter ashes on your own private property. If you prefer to scatter the ashes on another person’s private land, it is always recommended to first get permission from the landowner.
- Cremation Gardens - many cemeteries, memorial parks, and even churches provide special gardens for scattering ashes. If this is of interest, do a quick online search of cremation gardens in your area. These locations are protected and often beautifully maintained.
- Public Land - Colorado is home to many scenic areas – whether it’s the Rocky Mountains, hot springs, the red rock formations, lakes and rivers, sand dunes, and distinct cities and plains. It is recommended to check both city and county rules and regulations prior to scattering ashes on public land in Colorado, such as a city park.
- Federal Land - it is recommended that you always request permission prior to scattering ashes on federal land. Similar to local or state property, however, you will probably not encounter resistance if you perform a scattering ceremony and keep any ashes well away from trails, roads, and waterways. In addition, guidelines for scattering ashes are available on the websites for National Parks. Colorado’s Rocky Mountain National Park offers a downloadable application for a permit to scatter ashes in the park.
- By Air - While there are no Colorado state laws related to scattering ashes from an airplane, federal laws prohibit emitting any objects from the air that can potentially cause harm to people or property. The federal government does not consider cremated ashes to be an issue and can be dropped from a plane. However, be sure to remove the ashes from their urn or container before scattering (or use an urn designed to scatter ashes).
What to Use to Scatter Ashes?
With the surge in the number of people choosing cremation over burial, many new urns have recently been developed that are designed to scatter ashes. Below we’ve highlighted a few of the most popular ones. This includes biodegradable urns that are designed to scatter ashes, along with other more traditional urns.
Bamboo Scattering Urn
The patented line of bamboo Eco Scattering Urns provide an environmentally friendly way to scatter the ashes of a loved one at that favorite place. These special urns are made entirely from bamboo, a sustainable fast-growing resource. These include a unique open and close mechanism on top that gives families the ability to scatter in a graceful manner, with control and dignity, and the ability to re-secure the remaining ashes in the urn to transport to a second location to scatter or keep in the home. The Eco Scattering Urn ranges in price from $59 to $119 and comes in four sizes – giving you the ability to find a great fit with what you’re looking to do. If you are looking to scatter a loved one from a single urn, then the large would most likely be the best fit (as it can the hold ashes of a person up to approximately 220 pounds). If you’re looking to divide up the ashes into multiple scattering urns, then many families will either order two of the medium Eco Scattering Urns (which are 100 cubic inches each) or four or more of the small Eco Scattering Urns (which are 50 cubic inches each).
Paper or Cardboard Scattering Urns
There are many scattering urns available made out of paper or cardboard. While these can be used in a scattering event, they have some drawbacks when compared to other options available. For example, since they’re made out of paper they tend to break down quickly, especially in rain or snow (which can even happen before or during a scattering). In addition, and unlike the bamboo scattering urns available, after scattering a portion of the ashes, there is no reliable way to re-secure the ashes in the paper urn to transport to another favorite place to scatter or bring home to keep and cherish. Furthermore, many of the paper urns require you to glue the top on, which can create challenges and break apart if not done properly.
The patent pending Eco Water Urn provides a unique way to scatter ashes of your loved one in a body of water. This elegant urn comes packages in an eco-friendly bamboo container, perfect to protect the urn and ashes during transport (on a boat, etc.) to that special place to scatter and perform a water burial. The Eco Water Urn floats like a buoy for a few minutes and the disperses a loved one’s ashes out of the bottom of the urn and into the water. This provides for an elegant and eco-friendly memorial that family and friends will cherish and reflect on for many years to come.
Another option to scatter ashes in water is the Flow Ice Urn. This patented urn is made entirely of ice and floats for a few minutes prior to gracefully dispersing a loved one's ashes in water. The ice urn is now available at various funeral homes throughout the U.S.