2020 State Guide to Scattering Ashes - South Dakota Edition

This forty-fifth edition of state-by-state guides to scattering ashes is focused on the state of South Dakota. This beautiful state is home to stunning rock formations, impressive flowing rivers, lush forests, and thriving communities.

In South Dakota, along with most other areas of the U.S., more and more people are electing to be cremated instead of buried (primarily due to a much lower cost of cremation and families who aren’t as traditional as before). Along with this growing cremation trend, funeral homes and cremation service providers in South Dakota receive many calls from families with questions about cremation and scattering ashes. Some of these questions include if scattering ashes is permitted, where in South Dakota can ashes be scattered, and what type of urn or other container do they recommend to scatter ashes? In this guide, we highlight important information that answers these questions along with many others.

Scattering Ashes: Regulations in South Dakota

scatter ashes in South Dakota

In South Dakota, no state laws are in place that restrict families from storing or scattering ashes. Through the cremation process, the resulting ashes are harmless and don’t present any health risks. Cremated ashes in South Dakota can be placed in a niche, crypt, grave, urn, or any other container of your choosing.

Even without any state-wide restrictions related to scattering cremated ashes, it is important to check with city or county government offices where you’re interested in scattering to learn if any local restrictions exist.

Where to Scatter Ashes in South Dakota?

Many families make the decision to scatter a loved one or pet’s ashes at a special meaningful place, a favorite vacation spot, or at another beautiful location. In South Dakota, there are many places where you can scatter ashes - below we highlight some of the most common ones.

  • Private Property – Like most other states, South Dakota has no state laws that restrict families from scattering a loved one or pet’s ashes in your yard or on other private property you own. If you prefer to scatter ashes on private property owned by someone else, it’s recommended to get their permission first (and preferably in writing).
  • Scattering Gardens – With the growing amount of people choosing to be cremated, a number of churches, cemeteries, and memorial parks in the state of South Dakota and elsewhere throughout the country now have special designated areas where families are allowed to scatter the ashes of a loved one. These are commonly referred to as ‘scattering gardens’ - if this is of interest, one or more can typically be located nearby you with a quick internet search or by asking a local funeral director.
  • Public Land - With South Dakota’s stunning landscape, there are many beautiful places within the state to scatter ashes. Even without state-wide restrictions, if you prefer to scatter on public land, it’s recommended to first contact the city or county offices in the area to learn if any local restrictions or regulations are in place.
  • National Parks – South Dakota is home to six National Parks that attract over four million people each year! If you’re interested in scattering ashes at a National Park, be advised that each park has its own rules related to scattering ashes. Therefore, it’s a good idea to check with the park ranger’s office where you would like to scatter to learn about any restrictions or regulations that may be in place.
  • Aerial Scattering – Similar to other nearby states, there are no state laws in South Dakota that restrict families from scattering a loved one’s ashes from an airplane. If you or your family are interested in doing this, keep in mind that while it’s okay to drop the ashes from the sky, federal aviation law prohibits dropping an urn or any other container used to scatter with.
  • Water Burial – In line with the growth in cremation, water burials are also becoming more and more common. This involves scattering a loved one’s ashes in a body of water. If this is something of interest to you or your family, it’s important to know that federal law stipulates that cremated ashes must be scattered at least three nautical miles from land and the EPA must be notified within 30 days of a water burial taking place.

How to Scatter Ashes in South Dakota?

With the growing number of people in South Dakota electing to be cremated and also have their ashes scattered, many new and unique scattering urns have recently been made available. Below we highlight some of the leading new scattering urns offered by funeral homes and cremation providers in South Dakota and in surrounding states.

Eco Scattering Urn

The patented Eco Scattering Urn is made entirely from bamboo, a sustainable and fast growing resource. This unique scattering urn is designed in a long cylinder shape, which lets people easily scatter the ashes away from their body. The Eco Scattering Urn has a proprietary open and close locking mechanism on top, which helps people safely travel with the ashes in the urn without spilling and allows them to scatter with ease and control. Starting at $49, the Eco Scattering Urn is an affordable option for many families.

Paper Scattering Urns

Scattering urns manufactured from paper are offered by funeral homes and cremation service providers in South Dakota and nationwide. These are a lower cost option to other available urns and typically come with a nature scene or other design printed on the urn. However, the paper scattering urns come with a few drawbacks - it is not advised to use them in rain, snow or other weather events (as this can effect the integrity of the urn) and part of the paper urn needs to be glued together while loading ashes.

Eco Water Urn

Water burials are becoming more and more common throughout the U.S. One of the leading new urns designed for water burials is the patent pending Eco Water Urn. This unique urn floats upright (similar to a buoy) for a short amount of time. The bottom of the urn then breaks open and ashes are gracefully scattered in the water. The Eco Water Urn comes packaged in an attractive bamboo case, which provides a great way to transport the urn with the ashes of a loved one to a place on the water to scatter.

Multiple Memorials

With the growing number of people in South Dakota, along with many other states, choosing to be cremated over buried, many new and uplifting urns and memorial options have recently been introduced. With so many choices now available, it can be challenging to select a single memorial to honor a loved one. Instead, many families are choosing to separate a loved one’s ashes into two or more memorials. This commonly includes scattering a portion of the ashes at a special place or at multiple places, and then including the remaining ashes in a Living Urn bio urn to grow a memory tree, a glass decoration that displays an array of color, or a beautiful piece of jewelry or stone, among many other options.