Most businesses - including non-profit organizations - operating in the park are covered under two types of legal instruments - a commercial use authorization or a concessions contract. The information below is an introductory guide.
- Commercial Use Authorizations are short-term agreements that allow most businesses - including non-profits - incidental use of the park. Find out how to get a Commercial Use Authorization (CUA).
- Concession contracts are longer-term contracts offering visitor services that, with a few exceptions, take place solely within the park. Learn more about Concessions.
Please contact the Concessions Management Specialist at 207.288.8735 at any time if you have any questions or require more information.
About Commercial Use Authorizations
What is a CUA?
A Commercial Use Authorization (CUA) allows an individual, group, company, or other non-profit entity to conduct business activities and provide specific visitor services within a national park unit. The National Park Service (NPS) issues CUAs to manage a wide-range of visitor services in addition to road-based commercial tours. For Acadia National Park, this includes transportation providers, tour operators, guided hiking, bike tours, kayak trips, summer camps, art and photography workshops, and much more.
Federal law mandates the NPS issue CUAs only for business activities and visitor services that:
- are determined to be an appropriate use of the park,
- will have minimal impact on park resources and values, and
- are consistent with the park purpose, management plans, policies, and regulations.
Why Does NPS Require CUAs?
The requirement is in 36 CFR 5.3 - It is illegal to conduct business in a park area without a permit, contract, or other written agreement. Additionally, Public Law 105-391 Section 418, passed in 1998, provides NPS the authority to issue CUAs to allow business operations and requires NPS to collect a reasonable fee for CUA administration and management.
Application fees are to recover costs associated with managing and monitoring the CUA Program for Acadia National Park. Public Law 105-391 Section 418, passed in 1998, provides NPS the authority to issue CUAs to allow business operations and requires NPS to collect a reasonable fee for CUA administration and management. One hundred percent of the CUA application fee collected stays within the park.
Do I need a CUA?
A CUA is required if you provide any goods, activities, services, agreements, or other function for members, clients, or the public that:
- take place at least in part on lands managed by the National Park Service,
- use park resources, and
- result in compensation, monetary gain, benefit, or profit.
In Acadia National Park, this commonly covers:
- Transportation providers such as such as bus, limousine, ride-hailing service, taxi or van;
- Tour operators
- Guide services including: biking, hiking, climbing, nature tours
- Water-based activities including kayaking, paddleboarding, boating
- Photography or painting workshops; photography or painting tours.
- Any other service a business entity which wishes to perform the service in the park (this requires prior park approval).
Apply For A CUA
If you need additional help or have any questions, please contact our Concessions Management Specialist or call (207) 288-8735.
When to apply?
- Businesses must apply for a new CUA each year. Applications are accepted as of January 1st and must be received on or before April 1st.
- Businesses must submit applications Twenty-one (21) days in advance.
- CUAs are issued for one calendar year and expire on December 31st of each year.
What to Submit
- CUA Application
- Proof of Insurance
- A Certificate of General Commercial Liability Insurance .
- A Certificate of Commercial Automobile Liability coverage when applicable.
- Your insurance must name United States of America, Acadia National Park PO Box 177, Bar Harbor, ME 04609 as an additional insurer.
- $300 payment for CUA application fee (see below).
- Acknowledgement of Risk (if applicable)
How to Submit Your Application
- Submit your application package to ACAD_CUA_Program@nps.gov.
How to Pay
When you submit your CUA application, you will indicate your payment method. Accepted forms of payment include:
- Credit Card www.pay.gov (preferred).
- When the CUA application is received by the ACAD Commercial Services Office, and E-Bill will be created in www.pay.gov.
- Once the E-Bill is processed, an email from firstname.lastname@example.org will be sent to the email that is on file for your organization, and in the email from pay.gov there will be a link to submit your credit card number.
- Check or money order made payable to "The National Park Service".
Acadia National Park
Concessions Management Specialist
PO Box 177
20 McFarland Hill Drive
Bar Harbor, ME 04609
Operating Under A CUA
Entrance Fees Are Required
- Business operators receiving a Commercial Use Authorization (CUA) for activities such as biking, photography, yoga, hiking, summer camps, rock climbing, kayaking, or other activities are required to pay the per person rate of $15.00 for each client, regardless of the size of the vehicle. Clients may use their annual or federal recreational lands passes according to the parameters of the pass. Only clients 16 years old and over are required to pay this fee. The vehicle and driver/guide have free entry into the park, but may not use their own passes to cover the clients’ fee. This fee can be purchased upon arrival to Acadia National Park at Hulls Cove Visitor Center, Bar Harbor Village Green Contact Station, or the Sand Beach Entrance station.
- Business operators receiving a Commercial Use Authorization (CUA) for road-based tours and transportation are required to pay the Commercial Tour Fee Schedule rate which is based on the capacity of the vehicle:
Carry CUA With You At All Times
- Businesses and any of their representatives must have in their possession a complete copy of the CUA at all times when conducting business in the park; random monitoring of CUA holders is conducted.
Follow Special Park Conditions at All Times
- Special park conditions will be sent to you with your CUA. You must follow these special park conditions at all times.
- Examples of Special Park Conditions include:
Submit Annual Report
- Annual reports must be submitted by December 31st of each year. Failure to return this form by the due date will result in non-renewal of the CUA.
Requests for Ranger-led Program
Acadia National Park welcomes requests from any business wishing to add park ranger-conducted nature programs about Acadia National Park to talks, walks, hikes, youth programs, bicycle tours, or bus tours within the park. A standard fee will apply. To learn more, please email park staff.