Doing Business With The Park

Commercial Use Authorizations

What is a Commercial Use Authorization?

Cape Hatteras National Seashore (Seashore) permits businesses to conduct commercial activities in the Seashore through Commercial Use Authorizations (CUAs). The Seashore will only issue CUAs for activities that are

  1. determined to be an appropriate use of the Seashore;
  2. will have minimal impact on Seashore resources and values; and
  3. are consistent with the Seashore’s purpose, management plans, policies and regulations.

How do I Obtain a Commercial Use Authorization?

Which commercial activities are permitted?

Commercial Services
Service Allowable Activities Permitted Locations, Requirements & Limitations
Beach Equipment Services

Application Fee: $200.00


CUA will be valid for activities at Cape Hatteras National Seashore
  • Daily set-up and take-down of beach rental equipment such as chairs, umbrellas, small tents, and coolers
  • Associated photography services
  • Permited Locations:
    • Seashore beaches that are vehicle-free areas (VFAs) including, but not limited to, beaches on Hatteras Island in front of Buxton (year-round) and the following villages between April 15 and October 14 only: Rodanthe, Waves, Salvo, Avon, Frisco and Hatteras
  • Prohibited locations:
    • Lifeguarded areas
    • Beaches open to off-road vehicle use (ORV ramps and routes)
    • Sound-side beaches
  • Limitations:
    • Operating hours: equipment set up must take place no earlier than 8 am and equipment take down must occur by 8 pm in order to support National Park Service wildlife management operations
    • Tents/Sun shades must be secured using a weighted bucket/bags filled with sand and strapped to the tent frame. Umbrellas may be secured using a single bucket/bag filled with sand and a strap lashed through the ribs of the umbrella.

Beach Fire Services


Application Fee: $200.00

CUA will be valid for activities at Cape Hatteras National Seashore
  • Set-up and take-down of beach fires for clients in designated areas in accordance with Cape Hatteras National Seashore Beach Fire Regulations
  • Assisting clients with obtaining a fee-free Beach Fire Permit and educating clients on Beach Fire Regulations
  • Associated interpretive programs or demonstrations
  • Commercial transportation of participant/s via Off-Road Vehicle/s (ORVs) on designated ORV ramps and routes
  • Associated photography services
  • Permitted locations:
    • Areas where Beach Fires are permitted in accordance with park Beach Fire Regulations and associated Off-Road Vehicle (ORV) regulations:
      • November 16 – April 30: throughout the park unless otherwise restricted
      • May 1 – November 15:
        • Coquina Beach Parking Lot
        • Villages of Rodanthe, Waves, Salvo, Avon, Buxton, Frisco and Hatteras
        • Ocracoke Day Use Area
  • If using an ORV, must follow rules and regulations for ORV use within the Seashore
  • Limitations: Holder and its clients must abide by all stipulations and regulations of the Cape Hatteras National Seashore Beach Fire Permit

Guided Fishing Services

Application Fee: $200.00

CUA will be valid for activities at Cape Hatteras National Seashore and Fort Raleigh National Historic Site
  • Fishing instruction for individuals and/or groups
  • Commerical transportation of participant/s via Off-Road Vehicle/s (ORVs) on designated ORV ramps and routes
  • Launching and use of non-motorized watercraft (kayaks, canoes, and/or stand-up paddleboards (SUPs))
  • Launching and use of motorized vessel (excluding personal watercraft such as Jet Skis™) via designated public boat launch sites
  • Associated photography services
  • Permitted locations at Cape Hatters National Seashore:
    • Any areas open to the public except for lifeguarded areas.
  • If using an ORV, must follow rules and regulations for ORV use within the Seashore
  • Permitted locations at Fort Raleigh National Historic Site:
    • Beach area at the end of Pear Pad Road
    • Beach area near Mann’s Harbor Bridge also known as the Freedman’s Colony area
    • Note: the National Park Service recommends using the Mann’s Harbor Bridge location, because this location provides a larger area for parking and boat launching than in the Pear Pad Road location
  • Limitations at Fort Raleigh National Historic Site:
    • Operating hours: between sunrise and sunset only
    • Parking at Pear Pad Road location – large vehicles and trailers may not park in the parking spaces and must park on the grass outside of the cul-de-sac loop on south / southwest side (the same side of the road as the houses)
Guided Horseback Tours

Application Fee: $200.00


CUA will be valid for activities at Cape Hatteras National Seashore
  • Horseback riding and instruction
  • Commercial transportation of participant/s via Off-Road Vehicle/s (ORVs) on designated ORV ramps and routes
  • Associated photography services
  • Permitted locations for activities/services:
    • Seashore beaches that are open to public vehicular access as designated off-road vehicle (ORV) ramps and routes – only in areas seaward of the existing dunes
    • Inside Road connecting Beach Access Ramps 44, 48 and 49.
    • Along road shoulders or across paved routes where travel is necessary to cross to or from beach access routes.
    • Only on the following designated public pedestrian beach access routes, also known as vehicle-free areas (VFAs), during the following time periods:
        • October – March: Vehicle Free Area Ramp 45 to Ramp 48; Open Ponds Trail from the trailhead at Lighthouse Road in Buxton to the Frisco Woods Trail
  • Permitted locations for staging (meeting customers and beginning activities):
      • Bodie Island: access to ORV Ramp 2 via parking lot at Coquina Beach Day Use Area, use of up to 4 parallel parking spaces in the parallel parking area in the northwest section of the parking lot
      • Hatteras Island: Ramp 55 parking area - use of up to 4 parallel parking spaces in the parallel parking area in the northwest section of the parking lot; and Ramp 38 – use of up to four parking spaces
      • Ocracoke Island: as necessary and feasible along Ramp 70 to enable access to ORV route southwest from Ramp 70
  • Prohibited locations:
      • Resource closures
      • Lifeguarded beaches
      • Park campgrounds
      • Picnic areas
      • Pedestrian shoreline access areas in front of (i.e. seaward of) bird pre-nesting areas.
      • Established roads and trails, which are not open to motor vehicles
      • Beach dune areas
  • Limitations:
      • Operating hours: between sunrise and sunset only
      • Instructor/guide to student client ratio: no more than 7 students/clients to 1 instructor/guide
      • Maximum group size including instructors/guides: 16
  • Horse Waste Managment:
    • At the conclusion of each trip, the Holder must gather all horse manure deposited within the Seashore and must dispose of the manure outside of the Seashore
    • For CUA Holders staging their horses within the Seashore: the Holder must take steps to remove/disperse any horse urine deposited on parking lots by washing the area with water (fresh or salt water) at the end of each operating day, at minimum. The Holder must use only water to remove the urine – no chemicals or cleaners are permitted.
    • Prior to the beginning of each season, the CUA Holder is required to submit valid proof of a negative Coggins test for each equine entering the park. The Coggins test must have been performed within the last 12 months. The Coggins test is required in order to protect the park’s equine population on Ocracoke Island – the Ocracoke ponies.
    • If using an ORV, must follow rules and regulations for ORV use within the Seashore
Guided Waterfowl Hunting

Application Fee: $200.00


CUA will be valid for activities at Cape Hatteras National Seashore
  • Waterfowl hunting instruction for individuals and/or groups
  • Commercial transportation of participant/s via Off-Road Vehicle/s (ORVs) on designated ORV ramps and routes
  • Launching and use of non-motorized watercraft (kayaks and/or canoes)
  • Launching and use of motorized vessel (excluding personal watercraft such as Jet Skis™) via designated public boat launch sites
  • Associated photography services
  • Permitted locations:
    • Anywhere waterfowl hunting is permitted.
  • Guides must follow all rules and regulations for water fowl hunting within the Seashore as specified in 36 C.F.R. Section 7.58.
  • Guides shall have no permanent or seasonal blind rights within the Seashore and no special privileges other than those specified in 36 C.F.R. Section 7.58.
  • If using an ORV, must follow rules and regulations for ORV use within the Seashore.
Interpretive and Educational Programs

Application Fee: $200.00


CUA will be valid for activities at Cape Hatteras National Seashore, Fort Raleigh National Historic Site, and Wright Brothers National Memorial
  • Formal interpretive programs such as tours, walks, talks, or hikes
  • Historical demonstrations such as fish-net mending or U.S. Life Saving Service beach apparatus drill
  • Recreational skill demonstrations such as bird watching or night sky/astronomy programs
  • Commercial transportation of participant/s via Off-Road Vehicle/s (ORVs) on designated ORV ramps and routes
  • Associated photography services
  • Permitted locations at Cape Hatteras National Seashore:
    • Anywhere open to the public with the exception of the following:
      • Lifeguarded areas
      • Bodie Island Light Station area and historic grounds: April – October between 9 am and 5 pm
      • Hatteras Island Light Station area and historic grounds: April – October between 9 am and 5 pm
  • Permitted locations at Fort Raleigh National Historic Site and Wright Brothers National Memorial:
    • Anywhere open to the public
  • Limitations:
    • Holder may not provide interpretive and educational programs in the same general location or same general time period as similar programs provided by the National Park Service
    • If using an ORV, must follow rules and regulations for ORV use within the Seashore.
Non-Motorized Boat Tours

Application Fee: $200.00


CUA will be valid for activities at Cape Hatteras National Seashore and Fort Raleigh National Historic Site
  • Kayaking
  • Canoeing
  • Stand-up Paddleboarding (SUP)
  • Associated photography services
  • Permitted locations at Cape Hatteras National Seashore:
    • Anywhere open to the public with the exception of:
      • Portions of Salvo Beach Access Area. The Holder may only park, stage, and launch watercraft in areas south of the public restrooms.
      • Haulover Beach Access Area (also known as Canadian Hole)
      • Lifeguarded beaches
    • If using an ORV, must follow rules and regulations for ORV use within the Seashore.
  • Permitted locations at Fort Raleigh National Historic Site:
    • Beach area at the end of Pear Pad Road
    • Beach area near Mann’s Harbor Bridge also known as the Freedman’s Colony area
    • Note: the National Park Service recommends using the Mann’s Harbor Bridge location, because this location provides a larger area for parking and boat launching than in the Pear Pad Road location
  • Limitations at Fort Raleigh National Historic Site:
    • Operating hours: between sunrise and sunset only
    • Parking at Pear Pad Road location – large vehicles and trailers may not park in the parking spaces and must park on the grass outside of the cul-de-sac loop on south / southwest side (the same side of the road as the houses)
Off-Road Vehicle Driving Tours

Application Fee: $200.00


CUA will be valid for activities at Cape Hatteras National Seashore
  • Commercial transportation of participant/s via Off-Road Vehicle/s (ORVs) on designated ORV ramps and routes
  • Associated photography services
  • Associated services such as on-board interpretation, box lunches, and walking tours of park areas
  • Permitted locations:
    • Anywhere open to the public where ORV use is allowed. Must follow rules and regulations for ORV use within the Seashore. Information on access to ORV areas can be found here.
Outdoor Fitness Classes

Application Fee: $200.00


CUA will be valid for activities at Cape Hatteras National Seashore
  • Yoga
  • Pilates
  • Personal Training
  • Group or individual exercise classes similar to the options listed above
  • Associated photography services
  • Permitted locations:
    • Any areas open to the public except for lifeguarded areas.
Photography Instruction

Application Fee: $200.00


CUA will be valid for activities at Cape Hatteras National Seashore, Fort Raleigh National Historic Site, and Wright Brothers National Memorial
  • Photography instruction for individuals and/or groups
  • Associated walking tours
  • Commercial transportation of participant/s via Off-Road Vehicle/s (ORVs) on designated ORV ramps and routes
  • Commercial transportation of participant/s on roads to and/or within the park
  • Permitted locations:
    • Any areas open to the public.
  • If using an ORV, must follow rules and regulations for ORV use within the Seashore
Road-Based Commercial Tours and Transportation

Application Fee: $200.00


CUA will be valid for activities at Cape Hatteras National Seashore
  • Commercial transportation of participant/s on roads to and within the park
  • Associated services such as on-board interpretation, box lunches, and walking tours of park areas
  • Permitted locations:
    • Only public roads (not Off-Road Vehicle ramps and routes) with the exception of the following areas in Cape Hatteras National Seashore:
      • South Beach Road “old Ramp 45”
      • Devils Shoal Road
  • Note: Fees and other requirements are expected to change with the implementation of the National Park Service standardized road-based tours and transportation CUA program. For more information, please visit the National Park Service CUA page here
Watersport Instruction

Application Fee: $200.00


CUA will be valid for activities at Cape Hatteras National Seashore
  • Kitesurfing
  • Kiteboarding
  • Surfing
  • Windsurfing
  • Stand-Up Paddleboarding (SUP)
  • Associated photography services
  • Commercial transportation of participant/s via Off-Road Vehicle/s (ORVs) on designated ORV ramps and routes
  • Permitted locations:
    • Anywhere open to the public with the exception of:
      • Portions of Salvo Beach Access Area. The Holder may only park, stage, and launch watercraft or equipment in areas south of the public restrooms.
      • Haulover Beach Access Area (also known as Canadian Hole)
      • Lifeguarded beaches
Wedding Equipment Services

Application Fee: $200.00


CUA will be valid for activities at Cape Hatteras National Seashore
  • Set up and take down of equipment to support wedding ceremonies including: arches, benches, chairs, and small ceremony tables.
  • Permitted locations:
    • Ocean beaches that are vehicle-free areas (VFAs) including, but not limited to, beaches on Hatteras Island in front of Buxton (year-round) and the following villages between April 15 and October 14 only: Rodanthe, Waves, Salvo, Avon, Frisco and Hatteras
  • Prohibited locations:
    • Lifeguarded areas
    • Beaches open to off-road vehicle use (ORV ramps and routes)
    • Non-beach areas
    • Sound-side beaches
  • Limitations:
      • Must provide a reasonably-sized path (at least 12 feet wide) between the equipment and the ocean, and between the equipment and the dune line in order to provide for visitor access to the area, as well as access for emergency vehicles and National Park Service operations.
      • Equipment must be set up and taken down within a two-hour period.
      • CUA Holders’ clients must obtain a special event wedding permit from Cape Hatteras National Seashore. The wedding permittee (CUA client) and the CUA Holder must abide by all wedding permit conditions
 

How do I obtain a Commercial Use Authorization?

Before conducting commercial activities in the Seashore, businesses or individuals must submit a CUA application, receive approval from the Seashore superintendent, and have a copy of the CUA present at all times while conducting business in the Seashore. Businesses and individuals may not conduct commercial activities in the Seashore without a valid CUA or in a manner inconsistent with the terms of the CUA.

Application Instructions:

1. Download the CUA Application.

2. Complete and sign the CUA Application (electronically or in writing)

3. Submit the completed form via e-mail to caha_commercial_services@nps.gov.

4. We will then send you an E-Bill to pay your $200 application fee electronically through Pay.gov so that you can pay online via credit card, debit card or check. Do not send a paper check via mail.

Application Review Process:

  • The Seashore requires at least 4 weeks to process a completed CUA application
  • Applications are reviewed in the order they are received
  • Applicants may receive follow-up emails or phone calls with requests for additional information
  • Applicants will receive approval, denial or requests for modifications to the proposed commercial activities no later 6 weeks after receipt of the completed application and application fee
For what time period are Commercial Use Authorizations Valid?
The Seashore issues CUAs on a one-year basis and they are valid from the date of issue until December 31 of the same calendar year. For example, if an application is received on February 1, 2020, and the CUA is issued on March 1, 2020, the CUA will be valid from March 1, 2020 – December 31, 2020. As another example, if a CUA is issued on September 1, it will be valid from September 1 until December 31 of the same year.


If I operate an Off-Road Vehicle (ORV) as part of my commercial activities in the Seashore, do I need a separate ORVpermit?
If driving on the beach is part of the commercial activities authorized under your CUA, you are entitled to annual ORV permit vouchers for each vehicle you operate to support your CUA activities. The voucher/s cover the cost of the annual ORV permit and must be presented at a Seashore ORV Permit Office within a park visitor to obtain your free ORV permit/s. The ORV activities / beach driving must be associated with your CUA activities in order to obtain a voucher/s. For example, transporting customers in ORV areas or transporting equipment used in CUA activities to ORV areas.

For questions regarding Commercial Use Authorizations (CUAs) and doing business in Cape Hatteras National Seashore, e-mail caha_commercial_services@nps.gov or call 252-475- 9033 8:00 am – 4:30 PM Monday – Friday, Eastern Standard Time, excluding federal holidays.

Last updated: December 9, 2019

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Mailing Address:

Cape Hatteras National Seashore
1401 National Park Drive

Manteo, NC 27954

Phone:

(252) 473-2111

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