The Ministry for Natural Resource in Ontario, Canada has taken a progressive step about the scattering of ashes in its jurisdiction. It has been legal to scatter ashes on provincial crown land since 2009, but the public have been requesting greater clarity and the ministry in response to these requests has erected a sign for guidance purposes, to my mind the very first signage of it type in the world!
The sign situated in Bronte Creek Provincial Park, Oakville at 3201 Upper Middle Road West to be precise, sets out the do’s and don’ts in performing a scattering ceremony in the park. Helping people carry out their ceremony without fear of a ‘tap on the shoulder’ and that they are doing in the most responsible and environmental friendly way possible.
“It is important for many families of various cultures to scatter the ashes of a loved one as part of the ceremonial practices of their faith,” said Mississauga East-Cooksville MPP Dipika Damerla. “The Ministry of Natural Resources recognizes that the practice of scattering cremated remains is an important part of the religious beliefs of many families.”
The Ministry of Natural Resources considers that provincial parks are dedicated to the people of Ontario and visitors for their inspiration, spiritual, education, health and recreational enjoyment with the intention that these areas be managed to protect provincially significant natural and cultural features and preserve them for future generations. So I suppose it seems logical that they should help achieve these aims.
The sign in the parks reads:
Family and individuals who wish to scatter cremated remains of a loved one can do so in Bronte Creek Provincial Park on both land and in water.”
To minimize environmental impact, it also guides:
• Do not leave plastic flowers, notes or physical structures at the site;
• Do not leave offerings such as coins, clothing or jewelry in waterways or at the site;
• Stay on designated trails and roadways; and
• Do not cut or remove natural vegetation such as plants and trees.
I think this is a progressive step and whilst I am not sure of the amount in percentage terms of people scattering ashes in Ontario will come across this sign, which one would imagine is fairly minimal I would imagine, it is still welcome. Ummmmm I suppose there is one slight reservation and I think this is perhaps rather churlish of me. Does the sign potentially have a greater impact on the beauty of the locality than the occasional misguided family ceremony…? Am I missing the bigger picture here I wonder?