This forty-first edition of state guides to scattering ashes focuses on the state of New Mexico, the Land of Enchantment. This unique state is home to stunning canyons, beautiful rock formations, pristine desert, and impressive mountains.
In this comprehensive guide, we include important information to help provide answers to common questions people have about scattering or spreading ashes. This includes whether or not scattering is allowed in New Mexico, where in New Mexico can people scatter ashes, and what urn is should be used to scatter ashes.
Rules in New Mexico for Scattering Ashes
In New Mexico, no state-wide laws exist that prohibit where you’re able to store or scatter ashes. Cremated ashes are able to be stored in an grave, crypt, niche, urn or any other container you prefer. As a result of cremation, both human ashes and pet ashes pose no health risks.
Even with the lack of state laws in New Mexico related to scattering ashes, it’s always a good idea to reach out to the city or county government where you plan on scattering to learn about any local restrictions or regulations that may be in place.
Where to Scatter Ashes in New Mexico?
Many people in New Mexico, and in many other states throughout the country, choose to perform a scattering of a loved one or pet’s ashes at a location that has special meaning, or at a convenient or beautiful place.
With the increase in the amount of people electing to scatter the ashes of a loved one in New Mexico, many families are holding a celebration of life or memorial service before, at the time of the scattering, or afterwards. At this event, family and friends can come together, share stories, and reflect on and honor their loved one who passed. Also, many of these celebrations or services also give participants the option to participate in the scattering.
There are many beautiful places in New Mexico where families commonly scatter a loved one’s ashes, some of which are highlighted below.
- Private Property – New Mexico, along with most states, has no state-wide laws that restrict you from scattering a loved one or pet’s ashes in your yard, or on any other private property you own. However, if you’re looking to scatter on property owned by another person, get their permission ahead of time.
- National Parks – New Mexico is home to 15 National Parks, attracting over 2 million visitors each year! With the stunning landscapes that exist in many National Parks, these are popular places where families are interested in scattering. Just be sure to check with the Park Ranger’s office where you plan on scattering - every National Park has its own unique regulations related to scattering ashes.
- Scattering Gardens – In New Mexico, many existing cemeteries, memorial parks, and churches have recently developed scattering gardens. These are designated sections where you are permitted to scatter a loved one’s ashes. Spreading ashes in a scattering garden sometimes requires a fee, so check with the location you’re interested in to see if there’s a cost and, if so, if it fits with your budget.
- Public Property – Even with no state-wide regulations in place related to scattering in New Mexico, check with city or county offices if you plan on scattering on public land to find out if any local restrictions or rules exist.
- Aerial Scattering – In New Mexico no state-wide laws are in place that prohibit scattering cremated ashes from an airplane, however, whoever is doing this needs to hold onto the urn used to scatter - federal law prohibits dropping anything from the sky that could potentially hurt people or cause damage to property.
- Water Burials – Many in the U.S. have a special connection to the water and choose a water burial for their memorial. If this is something you plan on doing, it’s important to know that federal law requires that cremated ashes are scattered at least 3 nautical miles from shore. In addition, the EPA must be notified of a water burial or scattering at sea within 30 days of it occurring.
How Can You Scatter Ashes?
With more and more people in New Mexico choosing to be cremated instead of buried (primarily as a result of much lower cremation costs and families who are less traditional), a number of new and unique urn options have recently been introduced. This includes scattering urns, which give you the ability to scatter with ease at a special place to you or your family. Below we highlight some of the most common scattering urns offered by funeral homes in New Mexico.
Scattering Urn Made from Bamboo
The patented Eco Scattering Urn is made entirely from bamboo, an attractive and sustainable resource. This eco-friendly option is a leading scattering urn offered by online retailers and funeral homes throughout the country. It comes standard with a unique open and close locking mechanism on top of the urn, which helps secure the ashes in the urn while traveling to that special place to scatter. The Eco Scattering Urn is TSA compliant and can be engraved with your loved one’s name, dates, a saying, and a symbol of your choice – all for a reasonable price.
Scattering Urns Manufactured from Paper
There are a number of scattering urns available that are manufactured from paper. These unique urns typically come with an attractive landscape printed on the outside of the urn and are considered a low-cost option to other available urns. Paper scattering urns are TSA compliant and can be found online or at your local funeral home.
Urns for Water Scattering
Water burials involve scattering a loved one’s ashes in a body of water and are becoming more and more popular throughout the country. A leading way families are performing water burials is with the patent pending Eco Water Urn. This unique urn floats on the water for up to a few minutes until the bottom of the urn breaks open and the ashes are released into the water. The Eco Water Urn comes packaged in a bamboo protective case, which provides you with a great way to secure the urn as you travel to that special place on the water for the memorial.
Can You Have More Than One Memorial?
As cremation continues to increase in popularity in New Mexico and most other states, many new memorials that incorporate cremated ashes have recently been introduced. With so many new options, many people cannot decide on one memorial to honor a loved one and choose to separate their ashes into multiple memorials. Some common memorials families choose include:
- Scattering their cremated ashes at one or more beautiful places;
- Planting a bio urn with their ashes to grow a living memory tree;
- Placing their ashes in an indoor planter urn and grow a houseplant or bonsai tree memorial;
- Incorporating their ashes in a beautiful stone or one or more pieces of jewelry; or
- Including their ashes in a colorful glass tabletop decoration.