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leaving urns in national parks in south africa

South African National Park impacted by Inconsiderate Memorials and Scatterings


The issue of people scatter willy-nilly in public places is not restricted to Britain. The Parks Authority on South Africa has needed to issue a statement telling people what they can and cant do when it comes to ashes and memorialisation.

Table Mountain National Park (near Cape Town) authority took to Facebook to put out a notice asking people not to simple do as they wished and respect the park and its’s guests…

“our rangers have also come across shrines and urns placed in memorial of loved ones who have passed on, we are sympathetic to your loss and understand that our park users would like to remember their loved ones in the park which they fondly used. However, SANParks considers it a contravention when an urn with cremated remains is buried, outside of an existing grave or burial site in a National Park, or without the knowledge of, or mandatory permission from management.

Should urns and shrines with ashes be found in a National Park, SANParks staff members will hand these over to the SAPS. The Park does not allow for the burial or placement of urns in any area but we do allow for the scattering of ashes at a designated area in the park. “

The comments appear to the general mix of people wishing to have their voiced heard, but generally supportive of the Authority.

I had a look to see if this was a problem elsewhere in. The Kruger National Park (up in the North East of the Country) appears to have a problem with this too. I a post dating from 2013

The authorities said:

This practice, which has been in place for years has reached a stage wherein management now finds containers, caskets/urns, small tombstones, crosses, memorials or other symbols of remembrance placed or attached against rocks, trees, look out points and other structures in the park; which is not allowed in a National Park.

We would like to inform people who place such items without permission from Management that their items would be removed as they contaminate the environment and detracts from the ambience of the Park. Not only is this a contravention of the National Environmental Management: Protection Areas Act No. 57 of 2003; but it is also disrespectful to other visitors to the KNP, said the conservation Manager, Dr Freek Venter.

As per the policy, visitors are welcome to send in written requests to scatter ashes in the bush or to place plaques/benches in memory of their loved ones but permission must be granted by Management beforehand. The relevant staff will then find the proper locality for them, in line with the conditions and relevant legislation; as long as no item is left behind and there is no private ceremony that may impact on the experience of other visitors.

It must also be noted that approval for these requests does not constitute current or future unrestricted, free access to the park nor does it allow exclusivity for family members over any other visitor to the Park.

So, the Parks get it. They are not saying NO they are saying do it properly let them know, ask their permission and do it sensitively. Interestingly on the Kruger post they added a picture of the problem –


People just leaving urns!! What-on-earth?! Anyway, this is issue provides a lovely metaphor that there is space for everyone to memorialise if they just show a little consideration for others…


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