Commercial Use Authorization

Permit Information

Approximately 50 companies provide a wide variety of commercial services in Big Bend National Park and Rio Grande Wild & Scenic River. These services are limited to those companies having specific authorization, usually in the form of a Concessions Contract or Commercial Use Authorization (CUA).

Commercial Use Authorizations (CUA), are a permit issued by the park Superintendent to allow certain commercial activities within the park. Permits are required of all operators who provide any goods, activities, agreements or other services to the general 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 to an individual, organization or corporation.

Federal regulations prohibit engaging in or soliciting any business in the park areas, except in accordance with the provisions of a written agreement with the United States. Commercial aspects, such as advertising, negotiation of compensation, and receipt of money/compensation must occur outside of the park. Year-round permits coincide with our fiscal year, starting October 1 and ending September 30 of the following year. Permits may also be issued for one-time use.

How Do I Apply For A CUA?

Application Instructions - please read the application instructions and attachments A & B before applying for a CUA. Applications should be emailed to the CUA Coordinator. All items listed for your activity, including the application, insurance, and COVID Mitigation Plan must be included in your application packet to qualify for a CUA.
To apply, email the following documents to the CUA Coordinator (address below).

  • Application (see below)
  • $300 application fee (non-refundable)
  • Proof of Insurance, meeting requirements
  • COVID Mitigation Plan (see below)

Please allow 4-6 weeks for processing

Basic Requirements

  • Meet all insurance requirements over duration of permit.
  • Comply with all park rules and permit conditions.
  • Submit accurate Annual Report within 60 days of permit expiration.

Permit Fees

Application Fee is $300 annually. Permits will not be renewed from previous years; every commercial operator will need to submit an application for a permit for each fiscal year they operate.

  • No additional fee for the permit

  • Cost-Recovery Fee
    A cost-recovery fee, to recover costs associated with the administration and management of the CUA program. Fees will be based on a percentage of revenue earned from in-park or park-based operations. Market price fees will be based on the following:

    • Less than $250,000 earned from park-based operations: 3% of gross receipts (minus application fee)
    • $250,000-$500,000 earned from park-based operations: 4% of gross receipts (minus application fee)
    • More than $500,000 earned from park-based operations: 5% of gross receipts (minus application fee)

This will be included as part of the annual report and a check for the appropriate amount should accompany the annual report.

For more information on market based fees, please see



Contact Us

If you have any questions concerning the Commercial Use Authorization program at Big Bend, please contact:

Kelly VandenBerg
CUA Coordinator
(432) 213-3309

Last updated: April 27, 2021

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

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



Contact Us