How To Apply For A CUA

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Commercial activities in Big Bend

Thank you for your interest in commercial use in Big Bend National Park and Rio Grande Wild & Scenic River. We are here to help.
Please review the Big Bend National Park CUA HANDBOOK and see the information below for CUA forms, checklist, and application instructions.


FY24 CUA Application Checklist

(must be included in app packet)

Your completed CUA Application Checklist should be included in your application packet. Please note that the Covid-19 line must be checked attesting to an understanding of Covid-19 requirements. We no longer require a Covid-19 Mitigation Plan, but you are welcome to send one if you distribute to clients.

Consolidated Activities List

In anticipation of the FY2025 rollout of the national parkwide application system, we have consolidated the Activities List to align with the standard national program list.  For example, Jeep Tours will now be listed under Guided Vehicle Tours; Birdwatching, Botanizing, Astronomy Tours will now be listed under Environmental Education; Boat Livery/Tours/Charters will now be listed as Boat Tours – non-motorized.

Big Bend Park Specific Conditions

Park specific conditions have been added to the application packet for each approved activity. Please see list in CUA Handbook

Covid Plan

A Covid-19 Mitigation Plan submission is no longer required. However, companies are encouraged to have a plan in place while in Big Bend National Park and may submit if they provide a copy to clients. CUA holders will now attest to knowledge and understanding of the Covid-19 – Summary of Key Covid-19 Mitigations for the National Park Service Commercial Services Providers by checking the line on the FY24 CUA Checklist.

Application Period Open and Close Dates

The FY24 application period will open on June 1, 2023 and close on July 1, 2024.

CUA Application Processing Time

The CUA application period for fiscal year 2024 will open June 1, 2023. These CUA’s will be valid from September 1, 2023 to October 1, 2024.

If you plan to operate the first week of October 2023, please submit your CUA application by August 1, 2023. We require up to 60 days to process and issue a CUA. Complete applications must be submitted a minimum 60 days in advance of first trip for processing. Applications are reviewed in the order they are received; incomplete applications are moved to the bottom of the list and may take longer than 60 days until fully executed. 

If you plan to begin operations on October 1, 2023 YOU MUST apply* by August 1, 2023 

If you plan to begin operations on November 1, 2023 YOU MUST apply* by September 1, 2023 

If you plan to begin operations on December 1, 2023 YOU MUST apply* by October 1, 2023 

If you plan to begin operations in January 2024 YOU MUST apply* by November 1, 2023 

If you plan to begin operations in February 2024 YOU MUST apply* by December 1, 2023 

If you plan to begin operations in March 2024 YOU MUST apply* by January 1, 2024 

If you plan to begin operations in April 2024 YOU MUST apply* by February 1, 2024 

If you plan to begin operations in May 2024 YOU MUST apply* by March 1, 2024 

If you plan to begin operations in June 2024 YOU MUST apply* by April 1, 2024 

If you plan to begin operations in July 2024 YOU MUST apply* by May 1, 2024 

If you plan to begin operations in August 2024 YOU MUST apply* by June 1, 2024 

If you plan to begin operations in September 2024 YOU MUST apply* by July 1, 2024 

* apply means that you have submitted a completed application electronically and made the application fee payment of $350 by this date as well on Pay.Gov.

Park Entrance Fees

A CUA does NOT exempt the holder or clients from NPS entrance fee requirements, nor does it grant automatic access to areas controlled by reservation systems.

All visitors will be expected to pay an entrance fee or show possession of appropriate National Park Service (NPS) America the Beautiful Pass or original park entrance receipt for prior entrance.

Entrance fees for commercial tours at Big Bend are as follows:

Commercial operators may NOT use personal passes to cover commercial entrance fees. Using a personal pass may result in suspension or revocation of permit.

Safety Documentation

Copy of safety information delivered to guests on trip with information specific to Big Bend National Park, including but not limited to Leave No Trace, proper clothing and footwear, altitude, and importance of hydration. More information can be found here: Hike Smart

Last updated: May 24, 2023

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Contact Info

Mailing Address:

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



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