2020 State Guide to Scattering Ashes - Maine Edition

This thirty-first edition of state-by-state guides to scattering ashes focuses on the state of Maine. This beautiful state is home to a stunning coastline, pristine lakes and rivers, quaint coastal villages, and impressive pine forests.

With the increasing amount of people opting to be cremated, funeral directors in Maine and surrounding states are asked many questions from families each day about scattering ashes. Common questions that they receive include if scattering is allowed in Maine, where in Maine can an ash scattering be performed, and what type of urn they recommend to scatter ashes? In this state guide, we highlight key information related to storing and scattering ashes in the state of Maine and help provide answers to common questions.

Rules in Maine for Storing and Scattering Ashes

scattering ashes Maine

Maine law states that ashes may be "deposited in a niche of a columbarium or a crypt of a mausoleum, buried, or disposed of in any manner not contrary to law”.

If you are interested in scattering ashes, there are many options available to you in Maine. Through the cremation process, human and pet ashes are harmless and do not present any health risks.

Where to Scatter Ashes in Maine?

There are endless places in Maine where families scatter a loved one’s ashes. In addition, many families also elect to have a service (or celebration) with the scattering. The can be as informal or formal as you wish and can be a great time for family and friend to joint together to honor and reflect on a loved one. Also, during many of these ceremonies people who are present will participate in the actual scattering – something that can be extremely meaningful to all that attend.

Below we provide information on some of the most common places where people scatter a loved one’s ashes in Maine.

  • Water Burial – With Maine’s long and beautiful coastline, and the connection many residents have with the sea, water burials are a common memorial option chosen in Maine. Many boating companies in Maine provide this service and one near you can typically be located with a quick internet search. Prior to doing a water burial, or scattering at sea, it’s important to note that the U.S. Federal Clean Water Act requires that cremated ashes are scattered at least 3 nautical miles from shore. In addition, the EPA requires that they’re notified within thirty days of a water burial occurring.
  • Private Property – In Maine, along with most other states, no state laws are in place that prohibit you from scattering the ashes of your loved one (or pet) in your yard or on other property that you own. However, if you prefer to scatter ashes on private property owned by somebody else, it’s important that you receive their written permission beforehand.
  • Public Land – If you are interested in scattering at a location that’s public property, it is recommended that you check with city or county offices to find out if it is permitted at this location and if any local regulations are in place.
  • National Parks – National Parks are common places where many families prefer to scatter ashes and Maine is home to 4 National Parks that attract more than 3.5 million visitors every year. Many of our National Parks allow you to scatter ashes, however each park has its own regulations in place related to this. Therefore, it’s important that you contact the park ranger’s office where you prefer to scatter to understand if you’re able to scatter there, and the rules and regulations that may be in place. In addition, a number of the National Parks require permits – this can take weeks and even months to obtain so be sure that you plan ahead.
  • Scattering Gardens – With the growing interest in cremation and scattering ashes in Maine, many cemeteries, memorial parks, and churches have established special areas for scattering ashes. These are commonly referred to as scattering gardens and a quick internet search can typically find one or more options near you.
  • Aerial Scattering – There are no state laws in Maine that restrict the scattering of ashes from an airplane. One thing to point out - federal aviation law restricts dropping objects from the sky that could harm people or cause damage to property, so be sure the urn is held onto during scattering.

How to Scatter Ashes in Maine?

With the large and growing percentage of the population in Maine electing to be cremated and have their ashes scattered, many new and interesting urns have recently come to market. This includes urns that are specifically designed to scatter - below we highlight some of the most popular scattering urns used in Maine and throughout the country.

Eco Water Urn

The biodegradable Eco Water Urn was recently introduced and has quickly become the leading water burial urn of choice offered by hundreds of funeral homes nationwide. This special patent pending urn is made entirely from recycled plant materials and floats upright on the water (similar to a buoy), and within a few minutes time the bottom breaks open, freeing the ashes into the water. The urn comes in an attractive case made from bamboo - this can easily be engraved with information about your loved one for a reasonable price. The case also serves as a protective cover to transport the urn holding your loved one’s ashes to that special place on the water to scatter.

Eco Scattering Urn

The Eco Scattering Urn is a patent pending biodegradable scattering urn that’s available at most of the top funeral homes nationwide. This unique urn is constructed entirely from bamboo, a fast-growing, sustainable resource. The long tube-like shape of this urn helps people scatter a loved one’s ashes away from their body. The Eco Scattering Urn also has a unique open and close locking mechanism, which provides families with the ability to scatter with control and ease, and also helps to secure ashes in the urn while traveling to that special place to scatter.

Scattering Urns Made from Paper

Another popular version of the scattering urn offered by funeral homes are ones manufactured from paper. These typically come with an outdoor scene or other image printed on the outside of the urn and are a lower cost option to other urns on the market. Like the Eco Scattering Urn, the paper urns are shaped like a long cylinder, or tube, to help prevent having the ashes fall back on the person scattering.

Flow, the Ice Urn

Flow, the Ice Urn is patented urn that has received multiple prestigious design awards in Europe. The urn is constructed entirely from ice, making it one of the most eco-friendly urn options available. It floats gracefully on top of the water until it begins to melt and the ashes are spread into the water. Flow is available in select areas of the U.S. and Canada, and is expected to be available in Maine later this year.

Can You Have Multiple Memorials?

As more people continue to opt for cremation over burial (due to a much lower cost of cremation, among other reasons), a number of new memorial options have recently been introduced. With so many uplifting new options, many families find it challenging to decide on a single memorial for a loved one, and instead, elect to separate their loved one’s ashes into multiple memorials. This commonly includes scattering some of their loved one’s ashes at a special meaningful location, and then using some or all of the remaining ashes to plant a memorial tree with The Living Urn’s bio urn, or include them in a glass decorative piece, a pendant or other piece of jewelry, or a beautiful stone or diamond, among many other options.