Commercial Use Authorizations
What is a Commercial Use Authorization?
A Commercial Use Authorization (CUA) is a business permit with the National Park Service. It authorizes you to conduct commercial activities and to provide specific visitor services within a national park. We will only issue CUAs for activities that:
You must have a CUA if you or your organization provide services that:
You may not conduct commercial activities in the park without a valid CUA or in a manner inconsistent with the terms of the CUA.
2021 COVID-19 Guidance for Road Based Tour Operators:
Changes since 2020
Arches National Park authorizes the following commercial services with an approved Commercial Use Authorization (CUA)
Road-based Commercial Tours
Non-road-based Commercial Activities
How much does a CUA cost?
The annual fee is $300 per CUA for each national park area listed in the application. Payment must be processed through Pay.gov.
The National Park Service is authorized to recover, associated management and administrative costs associated with CUAs. The CUA fee covers the costs of processing and administering your application as well as overseeing the operational, safety, and environmental requirements stipulated in the permit.
Do CUA holders have to pay an entrance fee?
Yes. Fees depend on the type of service you offer.
Tour CUA holders:
Current entrance fees (per vehicle) based on vehicle size:
Transportation CUA holders,
Current entrance fees:
How do I apply for a CUA?
Submit the following to the commercial services email address listed in the application document. If you have questions, please call 435-719-2123.
Incomplete packages cannot be processed.
How long does it take to get a CUA?
Please allow 30 working days to process a CUA application. Guided Backpacking CUAs may take up to 60 days to process. We review applications in the order they are received.
What are the reporting requirements?
CUA holders are required to submit an annual report each year. Renewal CUA applications cannot be processed until your annual report is received. It is strongly encouraged to file the report as early as possible. The report is due at the end of your operating season, with a deadline of January 31.
Frequently Asked Questions
Road-based Tour CUA – The NPS defines road-based commercial tours as one or more persons traveling by vehicle on an improved roadway: on an itinerary that someone has packaged and sold for leisure/recreation purposes and provides no other services except those that are incidental to road-based travel in an area unit of the NPS (on-board interpretation and incidental stops at visitor centers, restaurants, wayside exhibits, etc).
Road-based Transportation CUA - Road-based commercial transportation is controlled by the client and there is no packaged itinerary or tour associated with the CUA. This CUA is designed as a drop off service for visitors into and out of the park e.g. taxi services.
Guided Interpretive Day Hikes – The commercial activity authorized by the CUA is in frontcountry and established designated trails within the individual park. No overnight backcountry camping is allowed under this authorization.
Still Photography and Art Instruction Workshops- The commercial activity authorized by the CUA is in the front country and established trails within the designated park. Art refers to visual art with drawing and painting instructions only.
Current Application Cost – all CUA within the Southeast Utah Group (SEUG) cost $300 and are issued on the calendar year from Jan 1 to Dec 31 for that year. $200 of the $300 is refundable if CUA is cancelled prior to the calendar year starting.
New Application Cost starting for the 2020 season – All CUA within SEUG will cost $300 and are issued on the calendar year from Jan 1 to Dec 31 for that year. The entire $300 is a non-refundable application recovery cost.
Current Entrance Fees –
Road-based Tours CUA is based on the size of the vehicle for their entrance fee for all SEUG parks.
Vehicle capacity of 1-6 passengers: $25 +$10 per person, not to exceed $40
Vehicle capacity of 7-25 passengers: $40
Vehicles capacity of 26+ passengers: $100
All other CUA holders for Arches and Canyonlands National Parks
$15 per person, participants may use valid entrance fee receipts, annual or lifetime passes.
All other CUA holders for Natural Bridges and Hovenweep National Monument
$10 per person, participants may use valid entrance fee receipts, annual or lifetime passes.
Jan 1, 2020 Entrance Fees Changes, for all SEUG parks –
The implementation of standardized road-based commercial tour CUAs and fees are delayed and will not occur starting October 1, 2019. This decision also delays implementaion of increased commercial entrance fees. Visit the National Park Service's Commercial Use Authorization page for updated information.
For more questions, contact the CUA program manager at 435-719-2123.
Sample Acknowledgement of Risk Form
CUA holders may not require clients to sign a waiver of liability statement or form, insurance disclaimer and/or indemnification agreement. They may request or require clients to sign an acknowledgement of risk statement or form prior to participation. You can download a sample. [23k PDF]
Last updated: August 4, 2021