Scattering of Cremation Ashes

The scattering of cremated human remains (“cremains”) in Buffalo National River should be a small private affair, held away from high visitor use areas. A Special Use Permit may be required in order to hold your memorial.

Scattering Cremains without a Permit is allowed under the following conditions:
  1. The remains to be scattered must have been cremated and pulverized.
  2. The scattering of remains by persons on the ground is to be performed at least 100 yards from any trail, road, developed facility, or body of water.
  3. The scattering of remains from the air is to be performed at a minimum altitude of 2000 feet above the ground.
  4. No scattering of remains from the air is to be performed over developed areas, facilities, or bodies of water.

If your ceremony meets all of these conditions, the only requirement is an Authorization Memo. There is no fee required. Please call us at 870-365-2702 or 870-365-2724 or email us at buff_concessions@nps.gov to obtain an Authorization Memo.

Activities in which a Special Use Permit for Scattering of Cremains is required:
If your activities fall outside the guidelines listed above, you must have a permit. Please note that if a ceremony such as a color guard or memorial service is part of the scattering of cremains, a permit is required.

If a Special Use Permit is required, the National Park Service may recover and retain costs associated with managing the activity. The authority for the National Park Service to recover and retain costs associated with managing special park uses is found at 54 U.S.C.§ 103104. Charges established for a special park use under this authority are intended to recover costs associated with managing that activity and not to generate revenue beyond actual cost. If any additional costs are incurred, the permittee will be billed at the conclusion of the permit. Please call the Commercial Services office at 870-365-2702 or 870-365-2724 to inquire if your activity will need a permit.

Conditions for scattering cremains with or without a permit: To maintain park natural and cultural resources and quality visitor experiences the following conditions and requirements apply to scattering of cremains:
  1. The remains to be scattered must have been cremated and pulverized and must be fully refined with no detectable remains.
  2. The scattering of remains by persons on the ground is to be performed only in undeveloped areas and at least 100 yards away from any trail, road, developed facility, campground or body of water including the river or any waterfall.
  3. The scattering of remains from the air is to be performed at a minimum altitude of 2000 feet above the ground. No scattering of remains from the air is to be performed over developed areas, facilities, or bodies of water.
  4. Access to the area must be kept open to the public and the memorialization cannot interfere with normal visitor activity. The park will not exclude nor allow you to exclude other park visitors from the site.
  5. Scattering must result in complete dispersal of ashes. Cremains may not be piled in one location or buried. No rocks, vegetation or other natural resources will be moved, stacked, cut or disturbed in any way.
  6. No monument, memorial, plaque, structure, urn, photo or other commemorative item may be left within the boundaries of Buffalo National River.
  7. Do not bring any potted plants, dried flower arrangements or any plant with seeds as these may introduce non-native or invasive species.
  8. The National Park Service (NPS) does not commit to treating the area as sacred or as a burial ground or cemetery. Park uses, operations and programs will be continued without regard to the presence of the cremains.
  9. Recognize and be aware of the sensitivity of this activity and perform it in a discreet and private manner.
Permit Application Procedure
Requests for a permit application or Authorization Memo may be made in person at park headquarters, via telephone, email or letter. The Special Use Permit application form may be downloaded from the park website. Park contact information is:

Commercial Services Office Telephone: 870-365-2702 or 870-365-2724
Buffalo National River FAX: 870-365-2799
402 N. Walnut St., Suite 136 Website: www.nps.gov/buff
Harrison, AR 72601 Email: buff_concessions@nps.gov

The information on the application will be used by NPS staff to evaluate the impact of the proposed activity on park resources and visitors. Please submit your application at least 5 business days before the start of the proposed activity. Applications are processed in the order in which they are received.

Last updated: January 24, 2020

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Mailing Address:

402 N. Walnut Street
Suite 136

Harrison, AR 72601

Phone:

(870) 439-2502

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