The Forest Service has a version of a “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy for private individuals who want to scatter the ashes of a loved one.I can't tell from the article whether the Indian tribes oppose the activity because of their own ideas about the sacred quality of the land. It would be a particularly interesting question if it's one of competing religious beliefs, with the Ladies in White wanting to use the land for spiritual reasons and the tribes asserting a superior interest in preserving a religion that inheres in the land.
“We don’t prohibit it, but we don’t authorize it,” Mr. Schofield said. “People should do what they think is right.” But an allowed commercial enterprises require a permit, he said.
Wilderness Watch, a conservation group, opposes dissemination of human remains in wilderness areas.
“I understand wilderness is sacred ground and many people feel closer to the Creator there than they do in church,” said George Nickas, the group’s executive director. “But it’s also a place where commercial enterprise is not allowed. I think the prohibition on Ladies in White is the right thing.”
March 30, 2007
"Three women in white dresses and hiking boots want to carry a pack on their back into a wilderness area. How harmful can that be?"
Can you scatter cremated remains on public lands? Does it make a difference if you want to make a business out of it. The "Ladies in White" charge $390 for the service. Does it matter if at first the state officials told you it was fine, but then they changed their mind when they heard from constituents who didn't like the idea? Do you change your position when you hear that the opposition came from Indian tribes?