Special Use Permit - Scattering of Cremains

The scattering of cremated human remains ("cremains") in Cape Lookout National Seashore 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.

Permit Application Procedure

Requests for a permit application may be made in person at the Harkers Island Visitor Center or via telephone, email, or letter. The application form may be downloaded on Special Use Permits webpage. A completed application and the non-refundable application fee are required before an application can be processed. Park contact information is:

Special Use Permits Phone: 252-728-2250
Cape Lookout National Seashore FAX: 252-728-2160
131 Charles Street Website: www.nps.gov/calo
Harkers Island, NC 28531 Email: CALO_SUP@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. Allow at least two weeks (10 business days) for processing. Requests which involve multiple locations, complex logistics or coordination with other visitor activities will require a minimum of 15 working days to process. Projects which require environmental or cultural resource evaluation must be submitted not less than 30 days before the start of proposed activities. Applications are processed in the order in which they are received.

Applications will be returned to the applicant if submitted incomplete, cannot be approved as submitted, or are received without payment or without a social security or Federal Tax Identification Number. This greatly extends the time required to process your permit.


Cost Recovery

The authority for the National Park Service to recover and retain costs associated with managing special park uses is found at 16 U.S.C. 3a, 16 U.S.C. 460l-6d, and 31 U.S.C. 9701. 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.

Special Use Permit for:
Application Fee
Administrative Fee
49 persons or less
$50 $50 $100
50 persons or more
$50 $100 $150

Application Cost: Must be submitted at the time of the initial application. This is a non-refundable payment.

Administration Cost: Payable when the permit is approved and prior to beginning the event. This is a non-refundable payment.

Monitoring Cost: If the event requires NPS supervision for resource protection or the health or safety of visitors, the cost* will be estimated and payable when the permit is approved and prior to beginning the event. The scope and complexity of the permit activity will determine the level and type of supervision. The fee includes employee travel time to and from the event location.

*Generally a $50.00 per hour per monitor charge is the rate for monitoring.

Federal procedures (31 USC 7701) requires your Social Security Number or Tax Identification Number on the back of all checks accepted for deposit. You must supply your Social Security Number or Tax Identification Number in order for your check to be accepted and your application to be processed.



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 the Superintendent's signature. After the Superintendent 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 & 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. Permits will only be issued to individuals (not funeral homes).
  2. A copy of the Certificate of Cremated Human Remains must accompany the application and permit.
  3. Ashes must be fully refined with no detectable remains and shall not be distinguishable to the general public.
  4. Scattering must result in complete dispersal of ashes. Cremains may not be piled in one location or buried.
  5. Scattering of cremains from an airplane must be performed at a minimum altitude of 2000 feet above ground level, and may not be performed over developed areas or facilities.
  6. Areas within Cape Lookout National Seashore where the scattering of human remains are prohibited area
    • From the Cape Lookout Lighthouse
    • Within 100 yards of Cape Lookout Historic District and Portsmouth Village Historic District
    • Within 100 yards of any historic structures or shell mounds
    • Within 100 yards of Cape Lookout lighthouse
    • Within 100 yards of the boundaries of Great Island or Long Point cabins
    • Within 100 yards of any building, dock, structure, picnic area, trail, road, creeks, marshes, potable water source or closed areas
    • Within 500 yards north and south of the swim beach boundary (identified by the vehicle closure signs on the beach)
    • Within a developed area
  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 Cape Lookout National Seashore. 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 use of acoustical instruments and the use of a portable, battery operated sound system are acceptable as long as they meet the standards listed in 36 CFR 2.12(a)(1) and do not interfere with the use of the area by other individuals. No public address systems are allowed.
  11. 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.
  12. Permittee will be responsible for security and orderly behavior at the event.
  13. 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.
  14. Any significant change in type and/or scope of event within National Seashore boundaries must be submitted to Superintendent for review prior to such changes.
  15. The permit must be in your possession when scattering cremains.

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

Last updated: January 11, 2022

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Mailing Address:

131 Charles St
Harkers Island , NC 28531


252 728-2250

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