Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog

Editor: Gerry W. Beyer
Texas Tech Univ. School of Law

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Wildcat Ash Scattering: Scattering Ashes Without Permission

AshesThe following, which discusses wildcat ash scattering, is taken from Jeffery Zaslow, Love, Honor, Cherish and Scatter, WSJ, Feb. 3, 2010:

More Americans these days are scattering loved ones' ashes widely, with great purpose and often without permission—an act known in the funeral industry as a "wildcat scattering." It's a reflection of both the marked rise in cremation and the growing desire by people to find their own ways to ritualize grief.

. . . .

In the past decade, more than 40 companies have been created to help people scatter ashes legally on land and sea by getting permissions and permits. But most families opt for wildcat scatterings, surreptitiously spreading ashes in favorite parks, stadiums, fishing spots or wherever else feels meaningful.

Scientists agree that there is no health or environmental hazard from the spread of human ashes. . . . Despite this, theme parks, sports facilities and other public facilities often discourage the scattering of ashes or decline requests, though some stadiums, typically overseas, designate certain areas where it is permitted.

Normally, only the most serious wildcat scatterers are caught. For example, one man ran onto the field during halftime at a Philadelphia Eagles game and spread his mother's on the grass. He was fined $100 and ordered to perform 50 hours of community service.

See Jeffery Zaslow, Love, Honor, Cherish and Scatter, WSJ, Feb. 3, 2010.

Special thanks to Joel Dobris (Professor of Law, UC Davis School of Law) for bringing this to my attention.


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This brings to mind that great scene in "The Big Lubowski."

Posted by: Bill | Feb 5, 2010 8:41:25 AM

When told that I could not scatter my father's ashes at Jones Beach State Park, I wimped out -- and shipped them home to myself in Chicago via UPS; I was going to follow the Rules. Of course, inadvertently, I didn't. Turns out that, along with the No Dumping regulations at New York State Parks, shipping human remains via Big Brown is another no-no. Since I still haven't found a better spot than my father's beloved beach, his remains remain in a cardboard box from the crematory -- until I can screw up the nerve to fling him somewhere else I am not supposed to. Somehow I just can't see bringing a middleman into his Last Goodbye.

Posted by: Pat Hitchens | Mar 12, 2010 11:02:16 AM

Best way to ship is via USPS. I'm one of those guys who has the license. www.atpeaceinthepacific.com. We do a great job for a very affordable price.

Posted by: Steve Porter | Apr 16, 2010 10:44:55 AM

We perform professional scattering of cremated ashes in the Atlantic Ocean off Jones Beach Inlet Long Island, N.Y.
Our memorial services include attended, unattended and Inlet viewings. USCG Master Captain. Licensed and insured.
www.southshoreseaburials.com 866-722-6201

Posted by: John Clinton | Aug 11, 2010 6:17:47 AM

New company phone number 516-369-0032

Posted by: John Clinton | Nov 30, 2014 12:57:43 PM

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