Trail through grove of Redwoods

Scattering Cremated Ashes in the Coast Redwoods

Redwood National and State Parks


Below the image is a copy of a park's letter found online about scattering cremated ashes in the redwood parks. I noticed ash remains several times in redwood parks, and some were along a trail. probably without a permit. Scattering ashes is allowed with a permit and there will be a few conditions. Some people may be unaware of the protocol. Whether or not people people get a permit, it is more polite and thoughtful to other visitors if you place ashes back out of sight instead of right next to a trail, bench or trunk people are likely to view on a daily or weekly basis.

Also, keep in mind that behind easy to reach coast redwood trunks is where people often urinate or crap. I remember a time waiting outside while a local Del Norte high school senior changed her outfit for portraits. I walked along the side of the road looking at the redwoods and noticed some ashes, and right next to that was toilet tissue, etc.. Someone placed a loved ones ashes where people will continually take a dump on them for the foreseeable future. If this would matter to you, especially if you plan to return to pay your respects, then place ashes back a good distance and not around trunks that are easy to reach.


Moorman Redwood Trail, an excellent place for hiking and redwoods photography

(Del Norte, Jedediah Smith, Prairie Creek State Parks)
Information on the Scattering of Cremated Human Remains In State Parks

The purpose of this information packet is to help you properly request permission to scatter cremated human remains within a state park. Permission to scatter cremated human remains within the National and State Parks is provided as a service to individuals. If the scattering is to be done by a mortuary or other commercial enterprises, the conditions and restrictions of California Code of Regulations Section 4331 and Title 36 Code of Federal Regulations, Section 5.3 apply. Mortuaries and other businesses providing this service must request and receive a separate authorization or agreement from the Department. Scattering of ashes from aircraft requires a permit


Redwood National & State Parks (RNSP) permits individuals to scatter cremated human remains, where appropriate. There are numerous and multi-faceted conditions under which the scattering of cremated human remains would not be appropriate. These include locations that are archeological sites, Native American burial sites, and locations where incompatible activities occur or may be planned in the future. (These restrictions do not apply to the reburial of Native Americans pursuant to Section 5097.94 of the Public Resources Code or the Native American Graves Repatriation Act. The appropriateness of scattering of created human remains with RNSP is determined by the State or National Park Superintendent.

Legal Restrictions

Present California Law requires that scattered human remains not be distinguishable to the public, and are not in a container. If there are particles in the ash that can be recognized as bone, etc., they will have to be collected and removed from the park by the person doing the scattering. In addition, Health and Safety Code Section 7117(c) expressly forbids the scattering of cremated human remains from a bridge or pier, in a lake or stream, or within 500 yards seaward of the ocean shoreline.

Written Permission Is Required

Health and Safety Code Section 7116 requires that anyone scattering cremated human remains obtain the written permission of the property owner or controlling government agency. Similarly, Title 36 Code of Federal Regulations Section 2.62(b) requires permission prior to scattering cremated human remains. Anyone found guilty of violating these codes are subject to a fine of $500, and/or six months in jail.

Redwood National & State Parks’ Obligations

The RNSP makes no promise or commitment to treat the area where the scattering occurs as sacred, or as a burial ground. The scattering of cremated human remains will not affect the classification of any unit or portions thereof. All park uses, operations and programs will be continued without regard to the presence of the scattered cremated human remains. The RNSP will not keep records of who was scattered at a particular location, or the date on which a scattering occurred. If you or members of your family would like to visit the site at a later date, you will have to make and retain your own records.

Suggestions for Obtaining Permission

At least two weeks prior to the date you plan to scatter the cremated human remains you will need to request permission by writing the RNSP Superintendents at:

Redwood National & State Parks
(Attn: Janet Cooper)
1111 2nd Street
Crescent City, CA 95531
(Fax: 707-464-2939)

In your letter, you should indicate that you are the legal custodian of the remains that you understand the restrictions listed in this information packet, and indicate the specific location where you wish to scatter. It is suggested that you include one or two alternative locations. If you do not have a specific location in mind, please indicate that you will scatter the remains at a location determined by the RNSP Superintendent. Please also indicate the date and time you plan to arrive, and the number of individuals expected to attend. Please let us know of any service or ceremony you have planned. No fees will be charged for the permit but standard park use fees will apply at the time you enter a state park. No fees are charged at the National Park. Finally, your letter should indicate the name of the person who you expect to do the actual scatting. That person must have a copy of the permission letter with him/her at the time the event occurs.

If approved for a permit you will receive a letter authorizing the spreading of the ashes. Please carefully note the special conditions on the letter. For more information on cremation matters, contact the RNSP Special Park Use Coordinator at (707)465-7307.

End of Information Document