What is a CUA?
A Commercial Use Authorization (CUA) is a business permit with the National Park Service that authorizes an individual, group, company, or other entity to conduct commercial activities and provide specific visitor services within a national park area. The National Park Service will only issue CUAs for commercial activities and visitor services that:
- are determined to be an appropriate use of Assateague Island National Seashore
- will have minimal impact on Assateague Island National Seashore's resources and values; and
- are consistent with Assateague Island National Seashore's purpose, management plans, policies, and regulations.
A CUA is required if you, as an individual, organization, or company, provide any goods, activities, services, agreements or other function for members, clients, or the public that:
- take place at least in part within Assateague Island National Seashore,
- use park resources, and
- result in compensation, monetary gain, benefit, or profit.
Businesses and individuals may not conduct commercial activities in the park without a valid CUA or in a manner inconsistent with the terms of the CUA.
Current approved CUA types include: Surfing, Paddleboard, Kiteboarding Lessons; Delivery of Campers/RVs; Wedding and/or Portrait Photography Services; Boat tours (scenic, fishing); Water Taxi; Guided Bicycle Tours; Paddleboard, Canoe, Kayak Tours; Guided Backcountry Camping
Do road-based commercial tour companies need a CUA?
Yes. Road-based commercial companies, like all other commercial operators in Assateague Island National Seashore, must apply for a CUA and pay all associated costs. See detailed costs under "How much does a CUA cost?".
How much does a CUA cost?
- Application Fee: The nonrefundable application fee for CUAs is $50.00. This fee is due at application submission.
- Management Fee: In addition to the application fee, CUA holders must pay a management fee to allow Assateague Island National Seashore to recover costs associated with managing CUAs. This fee varies beacuse each CUA type requires a different degree of management, however the minimum fee is $150.00. This must be paid before the permit will be valid. If there are additional management costs, CUA holders will receive a bill for collection.
Do CUA holders have to pay park entrance fees?
Holders do not have to pay to enter the park to do their job; however if they are transporting visitors into the park, they are responsible for paying the park entrance fee for their clients as described below:
- Road-based commercial tour operators (i.e. busses) pay the commercial tour entrance fee each time they enter the park. Click here for fees and passes.
- Other types of CUA holders pay the park's per person entrance fee for their clients which can be submitted with the Monthly Use Report. Click here for fees and passes.
How do I apply for a CUA?
Download and complete the CUA Application. Below are some of the CUA types that have been authorized within Assateague Island National Seashore. Services not listed here, may require additional time to review the application.
Submit the signed application and any additionally required documentation (detailed description of activities to be provided, business license, captain’s license, driver’s license, training certificates, Certificate of Insurance, brochure, rates) via mail to Assateague Island National Seashore. Incomplete applications will not be processed.
Send the non-refundable $50.00 application fee by mail along with the Application
How long does it take to get a CUA?
Assateague Island National Seashore requires at least two weeks to process a CUA application. Applications are reviewed in the order they are received.
What are the reporting requirements?
Monthly CUA report (OMB 10-660A). (pdf file, 431 kb)
Please download and submit within 5 days of the end of each month of operation. Along with monthly use report, submit monthly entrance fees (pdf file, 431 kb), for all adult clients transported into the Park.
Annual CUA report (OMB 10-660). (pdf file, 253 kb)
This report provides the park with visitation statistics, reportable injury data, and a record of annual gross receipts. Please download and submit this report by mail by 5 days after end of your season but not later than 12/31 each year. Failure to return required reports or misrepresentation of statistics or earnings will result in denial of your next CUA application.
CUA Office contact information
Assateague Island National Seashore
7206 National Seashore Lane
Berlin, MD 21811
Last updated: July 15, 2022