On Sept. 15, the Board of Supervisors unanimously approved a policy that, according to Parks and Recreation Director Jennifer Budge and Open Space Manager Lyndsey Boyer, establishes guidelines for “a consistent and equitable process related to the acceptance, placement, management and long-term maintenance of memorials requested by the public within the city’s park system.”
The policy outlines types of acceptable memorials and donations. These include memorial trees. Residents can work with park staff to choose appropriate species and locations. Two locations that already have established memorial groves are Mills Park and Lone Mountain Cemetery.
Other options are adoption programs and park amenities. The former means residents can adopt an area to care for and enhance with a sign denoting the honored party. The latter means residents can dedicate picnic tables, benches, shade structures, dugouts, boulders or other improvements. These dedications come with a brass plaque. Locations that have such amenities include Fuji Park, Governor’s Field, Mills Park, Riverview Park, Carson River Park, and the V&T Trail, among others.
Monetary donations are also an option. Monetary donations can be made directly to Carson City or to its nonprofit partner, the Foundation for Carson City Parks and Recreation. Greater opportunities to name parks or sites are presented to the Parks and Recreation Commission and Open Space Advisory Committee and require approval from city supervisors.
The new policy is a result of both the parks and open space committees, which worked on the details the last three years before the policy went to supervisors. Besides offering memorial opportunities, the policy sets rules for unauthorized memorials and scattering of cremated ashes.
According to the new policy, human remains may only be scattered in open space areas, not in parks or playgrounds. Remains should be scattered at least 100 yards from any trail, road, facility or body of water. No commemorative items may be placed at the scattering site.
Furthermore, unauthorized memorials anywhere in the city’s public areas – such as religious symbols, signage, or wreaths – will be removed after 72 hours of being publicly tagged. Removed items will be disposed of within 30 days if not claimed.
“We just want to encourage the public to go through the formal memorial process to remember their loved ones, rather than placing unauthorized memorials,” Boyer said in a follow-up email. “This allows us to ensure they are in the most appropriate location and aren’t impacting wildlife or natural resources.”
For information about public memorials, contact the main parks office at 775-887-2262.