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CostHelper > Personal Finance  > Funerals > Spreading Ashes

Spreading Ashes Cost


How Much Does Spreading Ashes Cost?

 
low costLow: $20-$50average costMedium: $100-$500high costHigh: $200-$1,600

Cremated ashes can be tossed into the air or released over a body of water. They can also be raked into loose soil or scattered into a trench (which can be made in a particular shape such as a circle, heart or star). TheFuneralSite.com provides an overview of ways to scatter ashes.

Typical costs:

  • Cremated ashes are considered sanitary and are not a health risk, so it's legal to scatter them on private property with the owner's permission. Do-it-yourself scatterings can be free or low cost (for items such as paper cups or other containers to distribute a portion of the ashes to be scattered by each mourner). Permits are often required for scattering ashes on public lands, and scattering may be prohibited in environmentally sensitive areas. Check with the state's department of ecology/environment, particularly before scattering ashes in public waters such as rivers, streams or lakes. Scattering may be allowed in national parks[1] at the discretion of the chief ranger for each park; permit fees range from free to $20-$50, and park entrance fees will also apply. (Commercial services are not allowed to scatter ashes in national parks or forests.)
  • Hike-in services will scatter ashes in remote wilderness locations for fees ranging from $200-$1,600, including the required paperwork. These are unaccompanied trips with no mourners attending. High Sierra Gardens[2] distributes ashes in California's Sierra Nevada range for $225; HawaiiScattersing.com will disperse ashes in remote areas of Oahu for $295-$395; and Ladies in White[3] scatters ashes in remote areas of Montana for $390-1,600 for a one- or two-day journey, depending on how many sets of ashes are scattered on a hike.
  • A few cemeteries and some churches have set aside separate areas as scattering gardens, with the names of the deceased listed on a plaque, usually on a wall or bench or other structure in the garden. The ashes are often buried a few inches deep or raked into loose soil. Prices start between $100 and $500, but can be $1,000 or more depending on what's included, such as exotic plants, a waterfall or fountain, or upscale personalized memorial benches. Church or nonprofit gardens are typically less expensive (and possibly less elaborate). The Mesa Cemetery in Arizona charges $130 for its scattering garden; the Davis, California, cemetery fees total $435; and Pine Forest Memorial Garden[4] in North Carolina charges $695, including engraving a memorial plaque.
  • Scattering ashes on the ocean's surface from a ship or other vessel can run $100-$400 for an unattended scattering or $250-$1,000 for a small group of mourners/passengers. See How Much Does Burial at Sea Cost.
  • Aerial ash scattering from a private airplane runs $195-$1,500 for unattended scatterings, depending on location and the length of flight required. ScatteringByAir.com[5] will release ashes over San Francisco Bay or the Northern California coast for $195 or over the Sierra Nevada or Lake Tahoe for $325; Aerial Missions in Washington will scatter over land or sea for $595-$1,495 depending on the site; and Clearwater Flight Services[6] in Florida allows up to two mourners as passengers on the scattering flight for a fee of $100 per person in addition to the $300 scattering fee.
  • Unique scattering options are available. Angels Flight[7] puts cremated ashes into firework shells and stages firework displays with music; prices start around $3,000-$4,900, depending on whether the show is watched from a beach or a yacht. Celestis[8] will send a "symbolic portion" of cremated ashes into space at costs ranging from $695 for a single orbit to $2,500-$37,500 for a one-way trip into continuous orbit or deep space.
Related articles: Cremation, Cremation Urns, Burials at Sea, Will, Funeral

What should be included:
  • Scattering is simply releasing cremated ashes from a container. Typically there will be a reading or service, and there may be music. At an attended service family and friends may speak, recalling events and anecdotes from the deceased's life. Then the ashes are scattered. Some families choose to have one person do the scattering, while others take turns dispersing the ashes in small amounts. The most common method of scattering is tossing the ashes in the wind. It's important to determine the wind direction before scattering, to avoid blow-back. NextGenMemorials.com describes scattering techniques[9] and presents poems and verses suitable for scattering ceremonies. UrnGarden.com offers photo illustrations of the scattering process[10] .
Additional costs:
  • Most scattering charges do not include the actual cremation. A simple direct cremation handled by a funeral home, mortuary or crematory averages $1,000-$2,500 -- See How Much Does Cremation Cost.
  • Traveling on an airline with the cremated remains might require a temporary container of lighter materials, such as cardboard, wood or plastic, that can be successfully x-rayed by airport security. Check with the Transportation Security Administration for details. Some people also want a more attractive urn for the scattering than the basic one provided by the crematory. See How Much Does a Cremation Urn Cost.
Shopping for spreading ashes:
  • CremationsSolutions.com provides a list of scattering services[11] .
  • Nonprofit funeral or memorial societies[12] (typically run by volunteers) can be an excellent source for information on local scattering companies/options, or for help in setting up a do-it-yourself scattering ceremony.
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External Resources:
  1.  www.nps.gov/yose/parkmgmt/upload/epcompendium.pdf
  2.  mountainashes.com/contact.html
  3.  www.ladiesinwhite.com/
  4.  pineforestmemorial.com/pricing.html
  5.  www.scatteringbyair.com/locations.htm
  6.  www.clearwaterflightservices.com/scattering.htm
  7.  angels-flight.net/
  8.  celestis.com/services.asp
  9.  www.nextgenmemorials.com/memorialscatter.html
  10.  www.urngarden.com/cremationblog/2009/09/22/dust-in-the-wind-scattering-ashes-cerem...
  11.  www.cremationsolutions.com/Cremation-Scattering-Ashes-Services-and-Providers-c33.html
  12.  www.funerals.org/affiliates-directory
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