This thirty-ninth edition of state guides to scattering ashes features the state of West Virginia. This beautiful state is home to stunning mountains, impressive lakes and rivers, and 36 amazing state parks!
In this comprehensive guide, we provide key information to help answer many common questions people have about scattering ashes in the state. This includes whether or not scattering is allowed in West Virginia, where in West Virginia can a loved one’s ashes be scattered, and what urn is recommended to scatter, among many other questions.
Rules in West Virginia for Scattering Ashes
There are no state laws in place in West Virginia that restrict families from storing or scattering ashes. Cremated ashes can be placed in an urn or other container of your choosing, or in a grave, crypt, or niche. Through cremation, the resulting ashes are harmless and do not present any health risks.
Even though there are no state laws restricting scattering in West Virginia, it’s always recommended to check with city or county offices where you plan on scattering to learn if any local restrictions exist.
Where Can You Scatter Ashes in West Virginia?
Many people will choose to scatter a loved one or pet’s ashes at a special meaningful location or another beautiful place outdoors. In addition, holding memorial services at the time of the scattering are becoming more and more common. At the service, family and friends can gather together and honor and reflect on the loved one who passed. Also, many services include letting people who attend participate in the scattering.
There are many beautiful places in West Virginia where families scatter ashes. Below we describe some of the more common ones.
- Public Property – West Virginia is home to some beautiful natural landscapes, including 36 state parks! If you intend to scatter ashes on public property in West Virginia, it’s a good idea to first check with county or city government offices where you plan on scattering to find out if any local regulations exist.
- Private Property – Similar to many other states, West Virginia does not restrict people from scattering ashes in their yard or on other private property that they own. However, if you want to scatter on private property owned by somebody else, it’s important to get their permission beforehand.
- National Parks – West Virginia is home to 6 amazing National Parks that attract over 1.5 million visitors a year. National Parks are some of the most beautiful places in the country and many people prefer to scatter there. Keep in mind that each National Park has its own rules and regulations related to scattering ashes - if you’re interested in scattering at one, be sure to check with the park ranger’s office ahead of time to find out if it’s permitted and if any regulations exist.
- Scattering Gardens – With more and more people in West Virginia electing to be cremated and have their ashes scattered, many cemeteries and churches in West Virginia have opened up scattering gardens. These are special designated places on their property where people are allowed to scatter ashes. Your local funeral director can most likely let you know about one or more scattering garden options in your area.
- Aerial Scattering – In West Virginia, there are no state restrictions related to doing an aerial scattering, or scattering ashes from an airplane. Yet, it’s important that whoever does the actual scattering from the sky holds onto the urn or container used to scatter - U.S. aviation law restricts dropping anything from a plane that has the potential to cause damage to property or harm to people.
- Water Burial – As many people throughout the country have a special connection with the water, a water burial is a common memorial option. If this is of interest to you or a loved one, it’s important to note that the United States Clean Water Act stipulates that a scattering needs to occur at least three nautical miles from shore and the U.S. EPA must be notified of a water burial within thirty days of it occurring.
How to Scatter Ashes?
With a growing amount of people choosing to be cremated in West Virginia and in other states (mainly due to lower cremation costs and families that are less traditional than before), a number of new urns continue to be introduced. This includes ones that are designed to scatter ashes of a loved one or pet - below we highlight a few of the most common urns used to scatter ashes.
Scattering Urn Made from Bamboo
Bamboo is a fast growing, sustainable resource and also one of the strongest building materials around. There is only one scattering urn available that’s made from bamboo - the Eco Scattering Urn. This patented attractive urn is one of the most popular scattering urns available and is offered online and by hundreds of leading funeral homes nationwide. It comes with a unique locking mechanism on top of the urn that secures the ashes (and helps prevent spilling) while traveling to that special place to scatter. This special locking mechanism also gives people the ability to scatter with ease and control. The Eco Scattering Urn starts at $49, making it an affordable option for many families.
Scattering Urns Made from Paper
There are a number of scattering urns available that are manufactured from paper. Most come with a special nature scene or other design printed on the outside of the urn. These are considered a lower cost option compared to other urns on the market, but come with a few drawbacks. This includes that the paper urns can be problematic if they get wet or are used in a weather event and they require an extra step of gluing the urn together when loading the ashes.
Urns for Water Burials
Many families throughout the country have a special connection to the water. Given this, water burials are quite common. The Eco Water Urn is one of the most popular urns used to honor a loved one in a water burial. This unique patent pending urn is available online and at most leading funeral homes. It is constructed from recycled plant materials with only pressure and heat (no glues!). It floats on top of the water similar to a buoy for a short amount of time until the bottom breaks open and the ashes are spread gracefully in the water. The Eco Water Urn comes packaged in an attractive bamboo protective case, which makes for a great way to travel with the urn holding a loved one’s ashes to a special place for the water burial.
Can You Have Multiple Memorials?
As more and more people continue to opt for cremation in West Virginia along with most other states, many new memorial options have recently been introduced. With the growing number of memorials available, many families are finding it to be a challenge to choose a single memorial to honor a loved one, and instead, decide to separate their loved one’s ashes into multiple memorials. In addition to scattering some of the ashes, this also includes including the remaining ashes in a bio urn to grow a tree memorial, a piece of jewelry or stone, or a glass tabletop decoration, among many other wonderful options.