Scattering of Ashes

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

Application Process

Complete the Special Use Long Form and email to yell_sup@nps.gov at least two weeks (10 business days) before the planned date for scattering ashes. There is no fee for this activity. Your request will be evaluated based on the information in your application. Applicants should attach maps, diagrams, and other information that might assist park staff in evaluating the application. For further information, please call 307-344-2110 or email us.

Permit

If your application is approved, a Special Use Permit will be prepared and mailed to you for signature. Upon receipt, please review, sign, and return the permit to our office for signature. After the National Park Service representative signs the permit, a copy of the permit will be forwarded to you. This should all be done well in advance of your chosen date. The approved, signed permit copy must be in your possession at the time of the event.

Terms and Conditions

To maintain park natural and cultural resources and quality visitor experiences in addition to the standard terms and conditions, the following conditions and requirements apply to Special Use Permits for scattering of cremains:

  1. Only human cremains may be scattered in the park. The scattering of other cremains is prohibited.
  2. Ashes must be fully refined with no detectable remains and shall not be distinguishable to the general public.
  3. Scattering must result in complete dispersal of ashes. Cremains may not be piled in one location or buried.
  4. The use of aircraft to scatter ashes shall be in accordance with regulations of the Federal Aviation Administration. In the park, a 500' Above Ground Level (AGL) distance must be maintained over undeveloped areas and a 1,000' AGL and a horizontal distance of 1,000' must be maintained over developed areas. Pilots are required to contact Yellowstone Fire Dispatch at (307) 344-2180 prior to flight for aviation safety purposes.
  5. Ashes may only be distributed in undeveloped areas. Ashes may not be distributed in or near buildings, parking lots, or campgrounds. Location will be named on the permit.
  6. Scattering of ashes in thermal areas is prohibited. Thermal areas are defined as areas where surface manifestations of hot springs, geysers, mud springs, or fumaroles are present.
  7. No rocks, vegetation or other natural resources will be moved, stacked, cut or disturbed in any way.
  8. No monument, memorial, plaque, structure, urn, photo, or other commemorative item may be left within the boundaries of Yellowstone National Park. Do not bring any potted plants, dried flower arrangements or any plant with seeds as these may introduce non-native or invasive species.
  9. The permittee recognizes and is aware of the sensitivity of this activity and agrees to perform it in a discreet and private manner.
  10. The permittee recognizes that 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.
  11. Permittee will be responsible for security and orderly behavior at the event.
  12. Access to the area must be kept open to the public and the memorialization cannot interfere with normal visitor activity in any manner. The Park will not exclude nor allow you to exclude other park visitors from the site during the ceremony.
  13. The permit must be in your possession when scattering cremains.

Other stipulations may be added depending on the specific nature of your request.

 
A person unloading a canoe on the shore of Yellowstone Lake.

Permits & Reservations

Review what you need a permit for and avoid surprises.

Last updated: May 19, 2022

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Contact Info

Mailing Address:

PO Box 168
Yellowstone National Park , WY 82190-0168

Phone:

307-344-7381

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