Scattering of Ashes

sunrise with  light pink and purple clouds in the sky and white sand dunes with ripples in the foreground
The serenity of peacefulness of the dunefield invite contemplation.

R.Burghart Photo

A serene and beautiful place that has touched many hearts, White Sands National Park is truly the perfect resting place for your loved one. If you wish to have your loved one memorialized by scattering their ashes on the glistening white sand, we are here to assist you.

Scattering of Ashes Permit Terms and Conditions:

A permit is required for scattering of human ashes from cremation and is allowed at White Sands National Park pursuant to the following terms and conditions:

  • Remains must have been cremated and finely reduced (pulverized).
  • Scattering by persons on the ground must be performed at least 100 yards (91.5 m) from any trail, road, developed facility or body of water.
  • Areas within White Sands National Park where the scattering of human remains are prohibited are: any location south of the Dunes Drive from the Dune Life Nature Trail to Roadrunner Picnic Area, the Big Pedestal Road from park headquarters to the end, the Backcountry Camping Area, and within one mile (1.61 km) of the visitor center and headquarters complex.
  • Scattered human remains shall not be distinguishable to the general public, and shall not be left in any type of container.
  • Containers shall be removed from the area.
  • Except for authorization to disperse human remains by scattering, nothing in this permit shall be construed as authorizing an entry or activity otherwise prohibited or restricted by law or regulation.
  • A permit must be obtained from the superintendent prior to dispersal of any remains.
  • Other conditions may apply.

Missile Tests

Missile tests are scheduled anytime from one month to one day in advance and are subject to change, cancellation, or extension at any time. We recommend you call the monument two weeks prior to your memorial, as well as both the day before and the day of your memorial to ensure that there are no missile-test closures planned during your memorial. In case of missile-test interference, the park will work with you to reschedule your memorial.

How to Apply for a Scattering of Ashes Permit

1. Complete and submit the special use permit application. The application must be received by the park no less than 14 working days prior to the start of the event.

If you choose to have a memorial service or honor guard with the scattering of ashes, your application must contain detailed information about the memorial, such as the expected number of guests and if you will be having music, artificial flowers, candles, tents, awnings, chairs, etc. Large memorials may require you to provide port-a-potties and trash receptacles for your event. The more information you include on the initial application, the faster your request will be processed. The permit is valid only for the date of your memorial.

2. Read, sign, and return with application the General Permit Conditions.

3. Submit the completed special use permit application and general conditions by appointment or via mail.

If sending application via mail, send to:
Special Park Uses
White Sands National Park
PO Box 1086
Holloman AFB, NM 88330

To submit application via appointment, email the Special Use Permit Coordinator and write in the subject line “appointment.”

4. Once received, most applications for permits requests will be processed within fourteen working days.

Requests that involve multiple locations, complex logistics or coordination with other visitor activities will require a minimum of 30 working days to process. Projects that require environmental or cultural resource evaluation must be submitted no less than 90 days before the start of proposed activity(ies).

5. After your scattering of ashes permit application is reviewed, you may be contacted to provide additional information or to discuss the details of your permit if the permit cannot be approved with the information provided.

6. After favorable review of your application, your permit will be mailed to you or you may picked it up in person at the park by appointment with the Special Parks Uses Permit Coordinator. To make an appointment, email the Special Use Permit Coordinator and write in the subject line “appointment.”

If You Have Additional Questions...

Please contact the Special Park Uses Coordinator. Please write “scattering of ashes permit ” in the subject line.

Last updated: November 1, 2021

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

PO Box 1086
Holloman AFB , NM 88330


575 479-6124

Contact Us


Stay Connected