Is It Illegal to Spread Ashes in Maine?
Editor's note: This article was written by a Townsquare Media Northern New England contributor and may contain the individual's views, opinions, or personal experiences.
Losing someone to death can be a very long and difficult process to overcome. Many who know death is coming plan out their final wishes, but for others, that simply isn't the case. So, many close friends and relatives are left with agonizing decisions, including whether or not to bury the deceased in a casket or to have them cremated. If opting for cremation, there's a natural urge to spread some of the ashes in places that meant so much to the deceased. But is it illegal to spread ashes in Maine?
It is Legal in Maine to Spread Ashes...With Permission
According to nolo.com, Maine only has a handful of rules and regulations when it comes to spreading ashes. First and foremost, you can legally spread ashes on your own property without any hinderance. There are no federal or state laws that prohibit the spread of ashes on your own property.
You Need to Ask Permission to Spread Ashes on Private Property
When it comes to private property, things can get slightly more tricky. If your loved one or pet enjoyed a particular scenic spot and wanted their ashes spread there, you'll need to ask the landowner's permission before doing so. It's uncomfortable to think about, but spreading ashes without permission could lead to potential trespassing charges if the landowner felt necessary.
Can You Spread Ashes in a State Park, Trails, Ocean, or Lake?
Maine's state law declares that ashes can be disposed of "in any way no contrary to law". That statement means you'll need to abide by all current laws before releasing any ashes. Any state-owned land will require a permit before spreading ashes. Many towns and cities in Maine do not require a permit to spread ashes, but an overriding state law requires ashes to be spread at least 100 yards away from any trail or road. Spreading ashes over the ocean is fair game, but some lakes in Maine either require a permit or are strictly prohibited when it comes to spreading ashes.