With cremation on the rise in the U.S., it’s important to understand the options you have for your loved one’s final resting place. Cremation gives you endless options—permanent display in an urn, burial or scattering cremated remains, to name a few.
One of the more popular options families select is scattering remains. While scattering is a symbolic way to connect with the departed and allow them to rest at a special place of significance, each state has its own set of rules regarding this disposition method.
In the state of Ohio, for example, there are no laws prohibiting the scattering of cremated remains on land. This doesn’t mean, however, that you can scatter your loved one’s remains anywhere you choose.
Below, take a look at some of Ohio’s regulations for popular scattering locations.
1. Private and Public Property
The state of Ohio permits scattering on private property, as long as you have permission. If you scatter on private land without permission, it could be considered criminal trespassing.
When using public lands for scattering remains, you’ll need to review city and county regulations, as well as zoning rules for the area. Areas like national parks, forests and reserves require a special permit. Other places may require a fee, so contact the local park manager before scattering remains. Some parks even prohibit the scattering of cremated remains entirely.
If you aren’t able to scatter the cremated remains at your location of choice, scattering gardens at cemeteries and memorial parks are special locations designed to offer a sense of peace and comfort while saying goodbye to your loved one.
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2. Rivers and Lakes
The state of Ohio does not require a permit when scattering cremated remains on inland waterways, including rivers and lakes. However, it’s important to note that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) forbids the scattering of cremated remains at beaches or wading pools.
Families who choose this route may pour the cremated remains directly into the water or via a biodegradable urn, which is specifically designed to aid the scattering process.
Additionally, keep in mind that when scattering or interring cremated remains in the ocean, U.S. Code (40CFR229.1) requires they be dispersed at least three nautical miles from land under the Clean Water Act. Within 30 days of scattering, a registration of the disposition must be filed to the regional administrator of the EPA from which the vessel departed.
If your loved one enjoyed traveling or was a pilot, you may choose to have their cremated remains scattered from a plane. While aerial scattering is legal in the state of Ohio, there are some stipulations.
This method of disposition must be performed by a trained professional, as it can be both dangerous and difficult. A professional understands how to handle the remains in a respectful manner and ensures that they’re properly dispersed. In some states, pilots must carry a license that permits them to scatter cremated remains by air.
Additionally, federal aviation laws prohibit dropping objects from the air that might injure people or property. While cremated remains are not considered a hazardous material, pilots must pour the cremated remains out of the container when scattering, as they’re not allowed to eject the container from the plane.
>>>Related Resource: How to Plan a Loving Gathering Before or After a Cremation
Learn Everything You Need to Know About Cremation
If you or a loved one is considering cremation, it’s imperative to understand your options and associated costs. To find out how to get the best value cremation without sacrificing service, download our guide, Cremation Costs Explained: How to Get the Best Value Without Sacrificing Service. It offers a detailed overview of cremation terms, costs and available options to help you make the right decision for your needs.
Editor's Note: This post was originally published in 2018 and has been updated for comprehensiveness. This post was also reviewed and approved in 2018 by Poul Lemasters, attorney, funeral director/embalmer and owner of Lemasters Consulting for accuracy.