Commercial Use Authorization Conditions


Commercial Use Authorizations are subject to conditions on how business should be conducted in parks. Conditions applicable to all CUAs and activity-specific stipulations may be updated annually. Current calendar year National, Park and Activity-Specific Conditions, as published below, are applicable to CUA holders regardless of the permit issue date.

Additional Information: The National Park Service has terms and conditions on all commercial service agreements. The following terms and conditions will apply to all Commercial Use Authorizations. There may be additional terms and conditions based on the services provided. These may include but are not limited to limits on locations, times, group size, and employee licenses and certifications and providing such information to the park superintendent for approval.



Authorized Services Conditions

Each authorized service has specific conditions. To become familiar with them, see the respective service below.


Southeast Utah Group (SEUG) Conditions

Arches & Canyonlands National Parks, Hovenweep & Natural Bridges National Monuments


21. Employee/Agent Responsibility – The holder shall insure that all company employees and vehicle operators entering the park are informed of the conditions of this authorization. (The holder may be cited for any authorization violations committed by their employee and/or agent). A copy of the entire Commercial Use Authorization (CUA) must be present and accessible at all times while conducting business in the park. A printed or digital copy may be used.

22. Vehicle Markings – All vehicles must display company information that meets the following minimum requirements:
a. Company name.
b. Number issued by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) if applicable.
c. Markings must appear on both sides of the vehicle.
d. The letters must contrast sharply in color with the background on which the letters are placed.
e. Markings must be legible, during daylight hours, from a distance of 50 feet when the vehicle is stationary.

23. Business Operations – This authorization does not authorize the permittee to advertise, solicit business, collect any fees, or sell any goods or services on lands owned and controlled by the United States. The Authorization is for incidental business operations when there are no fixed commercial facilities within a national park area, the commercial activity originates and terminates outside the park, no money changes hands on park lands and no commercial solicitation occurs on park lands.

24. Damages – The permittee will leave the area(s) authorized for use under this permit in substantially the same condition as it was prior to the activities authorized herein. The permittee shall pay the United States for any damage resulting from this use which would not reasonably be inherent in the use which the permittee is authorized to make of the land described in this authorization.

25. Closures/Cancellations – In the event of park closures or temporary delays, this authorization does not grant the holder or clients any special privileges for entry into the park. Park staff may not be approached in the park for additional information regarding closures while performing their duties. The National Park Service reserves the right to:
a. Limit the operation of authorization holders in specific areas or during specific time periods.
b. Schedule use of or close any trail, road, or other areas of attraction.
c. Information about closures can be found at:

26. Idling – Drivers of motor vehicles are prohibited from idling their engines except while actively loading or unloading passengers.

27. Leaders/Guides - Each group must have one person identified as the trip leader who will remain with the group at all times. If the party is divided into more than one group, each group will have a trip leader. The trip leader will inform the group of all park rules and regulations and has responsibility for the group. Guides must be fully clothed and equipped with gear suitable to the activity. All guides are required to display the name of the CUA holder’s company on their person while providing tours/guide services within the park that distinguishes them as a guide or staff member. Guides may meet this requirement by wearing, at a minimum, one of the following: nametag, jacket, shirt, or hat.

28. Behavior and Conduct – The holder and its agents are required to exercise courtesy and consideration in their relations with the public and with NPS employees, volunteers, or other park agents. The holder will review and correct the conduct of any of its employees whose actions or activities are considered by the Service to be inconsistent with the safety, experience, enjoyment, and protection of visitors and public lands. If there is a conflict with a ranger:
a. Follow the directions of the Ranger (if safe to do so).
b. Report incident to the Commercial Services Office at Include any documentation relating to the incident if applicable.

29. Orientation – The trip leader must provide an orientation to clients. The orientation must include basic hiking etiquette (e.g., passing other hikers), Leave No Trace principles, a resource message explaining human impacts to biological soil crusts (Don’t Bust the Crust!), park rules and regulations, safety procedures, litter, human waste, and emergencies. Each participant should be supplied with a map of the park area. Orientation materials are sent along with this permit, including:

  • Park Significance Statements and Interpretive Themes:
  • Leave No Trave Ethics
  • House Rules for Visiting Approved Archeological Sites
  • Safety:
    • Heat, intense sunlight, low humidity, and high elevation require you to adapt to harsh desert conditions. Carry and drink at least one gallon of water each day per person; more if involved in strenuous activities. Avoid overexposure to intense sun. During hotter times of the year, save strenuous activity for mornings or evenings.
    • Storms and flash floods can hit suddenly and without warning. During a lightning storm, avoid lone trees, cliff edges, and high ridges. Return to your vehicle if possible. If it is not possible to return to your vehicle, crouch low to the ground. Flash floods can occur without warning. Never try to cross a wash during flood conditions.
    • Winter temperatures drop well below freezing. Hypothermia is a hazard in fall, winter, and spring. Carry warm, dry clothing, and be prepared to spend a night out. Carry storm gear and a flashlight. Snow can cover rock cairns, making route finding nearly impossible after a storm. Extra traction devices for shoes are highly recommended when snow and ice cover the Slickrock.
    • Be careful near cliff edges, especially when conditions are wet or icy. Avoid loose rock. Remember, slickrock is easier to climb up than down.
    • Stay with companions in the backcountry; separation can mean getting lost. Carry a map and compass and know how to use them. Do not count on a cellular phone to summon help, as cellular service will not reach many areas of the canyon country. If you become lost, stay where you are and wait for rescue. Wandering will endanger your life and make finding you difficult.

30. Guide Orientation Video – It is the responsibility of each commercial guide to keep the members of your group safe while also providing a worthwhile experience. All tour guides must watch the “Commercial GUIDE Orientation & Training” video:

31. Monitoring – The permittee is subject to monitoring of their activities by NPS personnel to ensure compliance with the terms of this agreement, federal laws, rules, requirements, policies, park regulations, and any park-specific management plans. Vehicle, operator, license, and authorization compliance inspections may occur at any time by National Park Service personnel.

32. Trails & WalkwaysAll guides and clients must stay on established trails and walkways to prevent damage to fragile desert soils. Please inform everyone of this critical issue. Pedestrian travel off designated trails is prohibited due to public safety and resource sensitivity concerns. Altering the landscape such as removing tree branches or vegetation or clearing an area of rocks, cairns, or soil for any purpose is prohibited. No building or other structures will be erected under this authorization within the parks. The construction, moving, or dismantling of rock cairns or other trail/route markers is prohibited.

33. Noise – Permit Holder and clients will maintain a normal talking voice noise level. The use of musical instruments or amplified music is prohibited.

34. Food and Trash – All garbage, including food scraps and cigarette butts, must be removed from park areas. Feeding wildlife is prohibited, as it poses risks to both humans and wildlife. Guides must collect all trash generated on the tour and dispose of it properly outside the park.

35. Health and Sanitation – The permittee will comply with applicable public health and sanitation standards and codes. Any suspected outbreak of human illness, whether employees or guests, must be reported within 24 hours to the Public Health Consultant at 505-988-6040 and the park at A suspected outbreak of human illness is two or more persons with common symptoms that could be associated with contaminated water, food sources, or other adverse environmental conditions (i.e., gastrointestinal illness, zoonotic disease, etc.). Motor coaches with restrooms must keep restrooms unlocked and available to passengers. Restrooms shall be clean and regularly maintained.

36. Water – Purified drinking water can only be obtained at the visitor center. Clients and guides should carry adequate water with them. Four liters (1 gallon) per person per day is recommended. Be certain that no one becomes dehydrated.

37. Rescues & Emergencies – The permittee shall notify the nearest National Park Service contact station or uniformed employee of an emergency or for lost or missing clients. While self-rescue is encouraged in cases where no additional resources are needed, the National Park Service retains the authority to make the determination to employ additional resources when the situation warrants.

38. Reporting Incidents – The CUA holder must report any of the incidents listed below as soon as possible, and no later than 24 hours after the occurrence, to the Commercial Services Office at

  • Any accident resulting in personal injury, death, property damage, or a motor vehicle accident.
  • Employee or visitor injuries requiring evacuation or more than minor first aid treatment.
  • All incidents adversely affecting the area’s resources.
  • Reports should include date, time, location, and nature of the incident. Do not provide personal identifiable information in the medical/injury report.

All motor vehicle accidents resulting in injury, personal/government property damage, or injury to park wildlife or resources must be reported to park law enforcement immediately by dialing 911. Commercial operators must remain on the scene until the arrival of law enforcement officers.

39. Violation ReportingIf the guide, driver, owner, company, or any other affiliated employee associated with the tour receives a citation for violating CUA conditions in the park, then the CUA holder must report that citation to the Commercial Services Office at as soon as possible, and no later than 24 hours after occurrence. Visit to review the Southeast Utah Group (SEUG) Commercial Use Authorization (CUA) Suspension, Restriction, Revocation, and Application Denial Policy.

40. Commercial Vehicle Inspections – The permittee shall cooperate fully regarding the inspections of commercial vehicles within the park. Commercial vehicle safety inspections are conducted unannounced for visitor safety. Vehicles are checked for safety and mechanical deficiencies, and compliance with current state and federal laws and regulations.

41. Suspension or Revocation of DOT Authority – If for any reason, the permittee’s Department of Transportation authority is placed in any status other than “Active”, this Authorization will be immediately suspended.

42. Allocation – The National Park Service will retain the option to establish user allocation in future years in the event that the volume of use may increase to levels where specific controls or use limits must be imposed.

43. Exclusive Use – The CUA holder may not reserve or attempt to exclude park visitors from any area of the park.

44. CUA Use – Only one CUA may be used for each guided tour when entering the park and for permitted incidental activities.

45. Third Party Bookings – CUA holders may enter into agreements with an entity that advertises, books, and/or sells trips to provide the services arranged by the other entity. However, the CUA holder must brand the trip and be identifiable as the CUA holder and not as the contracting entity while operating in the park.

46. Park Entrance Fee – When entering the park each time, permittees must identify themselves as a CUA Holder, show the entire copy of the CUA, state that they are transporting visitors, and what services are being provided. If the entrance station and/or visitor center is closed, arrangements shall be made to pay fees. Commercial fees paid in one park unit of the Southeast Utah Group may not be used to enter another park unit. Entrance to another park unit of the Southeast Utah Group requires payment of entrance fees to that park unit.

  • CUA entrance fees for Road-Based Commercial Tours are based on the capacity of the vehicle.
  • All other CUA entrance fees (which include Hiking – Backcountry; Camping – Backcountry; Photography Instruction; and Transport (non-tour) - road, air, water based) pay the individual per-person entrance fee. Annual and lifetime federal recreational land passes are accepted. These passes are good for the owner(s) of the pass plus three additional adults 16 and over who are part of the same party. Children under 16 are not charged. The vehicle and driver/guide have free entry into the park. The CUA holder and/or guides may not use personal annual or lifetime federal recreational land passes to gain entry to the park for themselves or their customers when conducting business.

National Conditions

  1. False Information: The holder is prohibited from knowingly giving false information. To do so will be considered a breach of conditions and be grounds for revocation: [RE: 36 CFR 2.32(a) (3)].
  2. Legal Compliance: The holder shall exercise this privilege subject to the supervision of the area Superintendent. The holder shall comply with all applicable laws and regulations of the area and the terms and conditions of the authorization. The holder must acquire all permits or licenses of State or local government, as applicable, necessary to provide the services described above, and, must operate in compliance with all applicable Federal, State, and local laws and regulations, including, without limitation, all applicable park area policies, procedures, and regulations. All vehicles/vessels/aircraft are required to be registered and the operators are required to have the proper licenses to operate them commercially, as required by law or regulation.
  3. Employee Conduct: The holder must ensure that its employees are hospitable and exercise courtesy and consideration in their relations with the public. The holder must establish appropriate screening, hiring, training, safety, employment, termination and other policies and procedures. The holder must review the conduct of any of its employees whose action or activities are considered by the holder or the Director to be inconsistent with the proper administration of the Area and enjoyment and protection of visitors and must take such actions as are necessary to correct the situation. The holder must maintain, to the greatest extent possible, a drug free work environment.
  4. Rates: The holder shall provide commercial services under this authorization to visitors at reasonable rates satisfactory to the area Superintendent.
  5. Operating Conditions: The holder shall provide the authorized commercial services to visitors under operating conditions satisfactory to the area Superintendent.
  6. Liabilities and Claims: This authorization is issued upon the express condition that the United States, its agents, and employees shall be free from all liabilities and claims for damages and/or suits for or by reason of any injury, injuries, or death to any person or persons or property of any kind whatsoever, whether to the person or property of the holder, its agents or employees, or third parties, from any cause or causes whatsoever while in or upon said premises or any part thereof during the term of this authorization or occasioned by any occupancy or use of said premises or any activity carried on by the holder in connection herewith, and the holder hereby covenants and agrees to indemnify, defend, save and hold harmless the United States, its agents, and employees from all liabilities, charges, expenses, and costs on account of or by reason of any such injuries, deaths, liabilities, claims, suits or losses, however, occurring or damages growing out of the same.
  7. Insurance: Holder agrees to carry general liability insurance against claims occasioned by the action or omissions of the holder, its agents, and employees in carrying out activities and operations under this authorization. The policy shall name the United States of America as the additional insured. Holder agrees to have on file with the park copies of the above insurance with the proper endorsements.
  8. CUA Fees: At a minimum, the holder shall reimburse the park for all costs incurred by the park as a result of accepting and processing the application and managing and monitoring the authorized activity. Administrative costs for the application process must be paid when the application is submitted. Monitoring fees and any additional costs incurred by the park to support the commercial activity will be paid annually or on a more frequent basis as determined by mutual agreement between the Holder and the area Superintendent.
  9. Benefit: No member of, or delegate to, Congress, or Resident Commissioner shall be admitted to any share or part of this authorization or to any benefit that may arise from this authorization. This restriction shall not be construed to extend to this Contract if made with a corporation or company for its general benefit.
  10. Transfer: This authorization may not be transferred or assigned without the written consent of the area Superintendent.
  11. Termination: This authorization may be terminated upon breach of any of the conditions herein or at the discretion of the area Superintendent.
  12. Preference or Exclusivity: The holder is not entitled to any preference to renewal of this authorization except to the extent otherwise expressly provided by law. This authorization is not exclusive and is not a concession contract.
  13. Construction: The holder shall not construct any structures, fixtures, or improvements in the park area. The holder shall not engage in any groundbreaking activities without the express, written approval of the area Superintendent.
  14. Reporting: The holder is to provide the area Superintendent upon request a statement of its gross receipts from its activities under this authorization and any other specific information related to the holder’s operations that the area Superintendent may request, including but not limited to, visitor use statistics, and resource impact assessments. The holder must submit annually the CUA Annual Report (NPS Form 10-660) and upon request the CUA Monthly Report (NPS Form 10-660A).
  15. Accounting: The holder is to maintain an accounting system under which its accounts can be readily identified within its system of accounts classification. This accounting system must be capable of providing the information required by this authorization. The holder grants the United States of America access to its books and records at any time for the purpose of determining compliance with the terms and conditions of this authorization.
  16. Minimum Wage: The holder must comply with all provisions of Executive Order 14026 of April 27, 2021, (Increasing the Minimum Wage for Federal Contractors) and its implementing regulations, including the applicable contract clause, codified at 29 C.F.R. part 23, all of which are incorporated by reference into this authorization as if fully set forth in this authorization.
  17. Visitor Acknowledgment of Risks (VAR): The holder is not permitted to require clients to sign a waiver of liability statement or form, insurance disclaimer, and/or indemnification agreement waiving the client’s right to hold the CUA holder responsible for accidents or injury occurring on NPS property. The holder is permitted to request or require a client to sign a form or statement acknowledging risk and/or indicating that certain prerequisite skills may be needed to participate in the commercial activity. The holder must provide the park with the current copy of all forms and/or statements used for this purpose and obtain written approval by the park to use the form and/or statement. A sample Acknowledgment of Risk form may be obtained by contacting the CUA office at or by going to the park CUA webpage.
  18. Intellectual Property of the National Park Service: Except with the written authorization of the Director of the National Park Service, the Holder shall not assert any legal claim that the Holder or any related entity holds a trademark, tradename, service mark or other ownership interest in the words "National Park Service", the initials "NPS", or official name of any unit or part thereof, including but not limited to any facility, logo, distinctive natural, archaeological, cultural, or historic site, within the National Park System, or any colorable likeness thereof, or the likeness of a National Park Service official uniform, badge, logo, or insignia.
  19. Nondiscrimination: The holder must comply with Applicable Laws relating to nondiscrimination in providing visitor services to the public and with all equal employment opportunity provisions of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, as amended.
  20. Notification of Employee Rights: The holder must comply with all provisions of Executive Order 13496 of January 30, 2009, (Notification of Employee Rights Under Federal Labor Laws) and its implementing regulations, including the applicable contract clause, codified at 29 CFR part 471, appendix A to subpart A, all of which are incorporated by reference into this authorization as if fully set forth in this authorization.

Last updated: April 16, 2024

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