Doing Business With The Park

Private businesses play an important role in helping the National Park Service carry out its mission by offering services to park visitors that are not provided directly by the government. By welcoming the private sector as a partner in providing services, we can ensure people have access to services they need and broaden the economic base of surrounding communities. The government developed two types of contracts, based on the scale of the commercial activity: concessions contracts and commercial use authorizations.


Commercial Use Authorizations

Commercial Use Authorizations (CUAs) permit small-scale, commercial activities that are appropriate, low-impact, and consistent with the purpose for which Big Bend was established. Commercial Use Authorization permits are required of all operators who provide any goods, activities, agreements, or other services to the general public which take place, at least in part, in the park, uses park resources and are undertaken for or results in compensation, monetary gain, benefit or profit to an individual, organization or corporation. (This also applies to non-profit and educational groups, if taxable income is derived).


Commercial Road-Based Tours

Starting September 15th, 2021, commercial road-based tour operators are authorized to operate on paved park roads with visits to facilities, services, vehicle pullouts, scenic waysides, developed areas. All entries are contingent on fulfilling Big Bend requirements prior to entry.


Special Use Permits

A special use permit (SUP) is required for activities that benefit an individual, group, or organization rather than the public at large. 36 CFR 2.50 These activities require some degree of management from the National Park Service if there is the potential for interference with visitor use, congestion of a highly visited area, or possible impact on park resources.

Such activities include, but are not limited to:

  • Organized day-hiking groups over 30 people
  • Organized backpacking/off-trail hiking groups over 15 people.
  • Weddings and commitment ceremonies
  • Commercial filming and photography
  • Memorials and the spreading of remains
  • Special Events
  • Worship services

Filming & Still Photography Permits

NPS units have the authority and responsibility to manage, permit and/or deny filming, photography and sound recordings in ways consistent with park management and mission.

Last updated: May 17, 2024

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Contact Info

Mailing Address:

PO Box 129
Big Bend National Park, TX 79834-0129



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