Seattle, Washington

Scattering Remains (Cremains) in the Seattle Area

Lake Washington
and the Puget Sound

Public navigable waterways under state control are valid sites for scattering cremated remains. These include Puget Sound, rivers, streams and lakes, and the Pacific Ocean within a three-mile limit. Scattering remains in the Pacific Ocean beyond a three-mile limit requires reporting the scattering within 30 days to Region 10 of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The agency can be contacted at 1200 Sixth Avenue, Seattle, WA 98101.

Secure permission from the landowner when considering scattering cremated remains in a body of water on privately owned land.

Scattering remains on bodies of water in national parks requires receiving permission from the chief park ranger. Scattering on waters in state trust uplands requires receiving permission from regional managers. Commercial entities are not allowed to scatter remains on state trust uplands.

Remains need to be scattered in a specific manner: Pour out the contents of the urn to scatter them. Do not drop or throw the urn into the water. Locate the identification label or numbered disc inside the urn. Keep this label or disc and dispose of it separately with the urn.

Scattering from Washington state ferries.
The Department of Transportation allows memorial services and scattering remains aboard some sailings of Washington state ferries.
See here for more info:

Mount Ranier

Seattleites consider Mount Rainier, Washington's oldest and most visited national park, their "home" national park. As such it comes into consideration for a memorial gathering or a remains scattering.

In order to hold a gathering of more than a dozen, or to set up chairs or equipment for a gathering, or to scatter remains, you need to complete a special-use permit request form. Each national park, including Washington's others, Olympic and North Cascades, has distinct regulations, special-use permit forms, and processing requirements.

To scatter remains at Mount Rainier National Park, a permit must be obtained and a $25 fee paid at least four days before scattering. A permit will allow all participants covered by the permit to enter the park for free during the times specified (each car entering needs to display a copy of the permit). Remains cannot be scattered in certain popular places. A permit applicant must pay costs for park personnel to evaluate the request, whether a permit is granted or not.

Gatherings at Mount Rainier, small, brief and simple assemblies of fewer than a dozen people typically will not require a special-use permit. Staging any event for more than 12 people involving a ceremony that is anticipated to last longer than 15 minutes calls for a special-use permit. Memorial gatherings usually will be considered under the park's policies regarding weddings. A special-use permit application is required at least four business days before the event. The application fee is $60.

Alcohol is allowed in the park but Washington state laws regarding its use must be followed.

Many stunning locations exist for gatherings at Mount Rainier National Park. One highlight is Paradise visitor's center and picnic area. At an elevation of 2,700 feet, Paradise offers spectacular views. The site offers ample parking and handicapped access. One disadvantage is crowds. Special-use visitors are reminded that holding a permit to gather or to scatter remains does not allow asking other park visitors to vacate the area during your ceremony.

The park has three amphitheaters :

  • Cougar Rock Amphitheater, on the southwest side of the park, has seating for 50 to 100 people, is handicapped-accessible and quite private.
  • Ohanapecosh Amphitheater, on the east side of the park, has seating for 100 to 200 people on timber benches and is handicapped-accessible.
  • White River Amphitheater on the east side of the park, has seating for 30 to 50 people on log benches and is not handicapped-accessible. The White River Amphitheater is next to a very large campground and, therefore, does not afford much privacy.

Road status and weather are always considerations when visiting Mount Rainier. Plan accordingly.

In the event your observance requires an overnight stay, accommodations near the park are many and varied. Two hotels inside Mount Rainier National Park are run by Mount Rainier Guest Services :

National Park Inn: Located in the Longmire Historic District and at an elevation of 2,700 feet, the National Park Inn is open all year. The Inn has 25 guest rooms, full-service restaurant, gift shop and post office.

Paradise Inn: Built in 1916 and remodeled in 2008, the Historic Paradise Inn is generally open from May through September. Located at Paradise, at 2,700 feet, the Paradise Inn has 117 guest rooms, gift shop, post office, and full-service restaurant, as well as snack bar and lounge.

For more information, call (360) 569-2275 or visit the Mount Rainier Guest Services website.