Commercial Use Authorizations

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Commercial Use Authorizations (CUAs) are limited authorizations to provide specific visitor services within the boundaries of Denali National Park and Preserve. Section 418 of the National Parks Omnibus Management Act of 1998, Public Law 105-391, authorizes the National Park Service to issue Commercial Use Authorizations (CUAs) to persons (referring to individuals, corporations, and other entities) to provide commercial services to park area visitors in limited circumstances. CUAs provide a means to authorize suitable commercial services to visitors in park areas. The CUA is used to provide for incidental use of park area resources by operators who provide commercial services originating and terminating outside of the park area (Out-of-Park-Services). The term of a CUA may not exceed two years and no preferential right of renewal or similar provisions for renewal may be provided. Currently Denali is issuing CUAs for one year only.

A fully completed application package including insurance, fee payment, and other required documentation must be received or postmarked by the April 30th deadline.

Applications received or postmarked after April 30th and will not be accepted. Rare exceptions may be made if there are extenuating circumstances involved or if the application is to provide an approved service not currently offered by other commercial operators. Any request for a waiver based upon extenuating circumstances must be submitted in writing and approved by the park Superintendent.

Denali National Park and Preserve only accepts CUA applications for the following activities:

  1. Guided Day Hiking—Frontcountry
  2. Guided Day Hiking—Backcountry
  3. Guided Overnight Hiking
  4. Group Camping—Savage River Campground
  5. Guided Winter Activities
  6. Guided Mountaineering
  7. Air Taxi
  8. Incidental Hunt Transport
  9. Road Based Winter Vehicle Tours
Dear Commercial Use Authorization Holders and Applicants:

In fall 2017, Denali National Park and Preserve will be making administrative changes to the Commercial Use Authorization (CUA) program. Applications, permitting, and payment processing currently completed by the National Park Service (NPS) Alaska Regional Office will now be completed directly through Denali National Park and Preserve. In order to better facilitate the program, Denali will change the methodology under which CUA fees are collected.

Public Law 105-391 and NPS policy require the Superintendent to charge a reasonable fee “to recover associated management and administrative costs” for CUAs. Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Circular A-25 defines reasonable fee as either “market price” or “cost recovery”. Both fee collection methods are described in detail in OMB Circular A-25 and in the Denali “CUA Handbook” which has been created to provide details about these changes.

Denali currently charges a cost recovery fee, which includes an application and management fee. In 2018, Denali will change to the market price model under which an Annual Fee will be charged against gross receipts earned for services conducted within Denali National Park and Preserve.

Important information about CUA program changes:
  • Applications
    Applications will be submitted directly to Denali National Park and Preserve for Denali specific CUAs. Businesses applying for CUAs at other Alaska National Parks will continue to apply through the Alaska Regional Office.
  • Application period
    Denali National Park and Preserve has adopted the same application period as the Alaska Regional Office. The application period for all Denali CUAs is November 1 to April 30 with the exception of Road Based Winter Vehicle Tours (year-round). CUA applications received after the deadline will not be accepted.
  • Service Categories
    CUAs will now be issued by the following service categories: Land-Based Guiding, Mountaineering, Air Transportation, and Auto Transportation.
  • CUA Annual Fees applicable to all Service Categories
    An Annual Fee based on a percentage of gross receipts will be implemented in 2018. A $200 non-refundable portion of the Annual Fee is due with each application. Businesses may apply for multiple activities within a service category for one $200 Annual Fee. Businesses applying for multiple service categories must apply for a separate CUA for each category and pay the non-refundable portion of the Annual Fee for each CUA (e.g., an operator applying for a Land-Based Guiding CUA and an Air Transportation CUA will be required to pay a $400 non-refundable fee at the time of application). CUA holders are required to maintain an accounting system that documents income earned as a result of operating within Denali National Park and Preserve and pay a fee based on gross receipts. The Annual Fee for the prior calendar year is due to the Park by January 31, 2019 (see fee structure below). Note: the $200 non-refundable fee will be deducted from the final Annual Fee payment.
  • In 2018, CUAs will be continued to be issued for one year only. The minimum Annual Fee of $200 is due at the time of the application. In future years Denali may move to two year CUAs.
  • CUA Annual Fees for Land-Based Guiding, Air Transportation, and Auto Transportation
    A tiered Annual Fee of 3%, 4%, or 5% will be applied to gross receipts on income earned as a result of providing Land-Based Guiding, Air Transportation, and/or Auto Transportation within Denali National Park and Preserve. A $200 non-refundable portion of the Annual Fee is due with each application. Please reference the table below.

    Annual fees based on percentage of gross receipts for: Land-Based Guiding, Air Transportation, and Auto Transportation ($200 annual fee acts as credit towards the following)
    Gross Receipts Annual Fee
    Between $0.00 and $250,000.00 3% of gross receipts
    Between $250,000.00 and $500,000.00 4% of gross receipts in addition to the prior amount
    Above $500,000.01 5% of gross receipts in addition to the prior two amounts
  • CUA Annual Fees for Mountaineering: A flat 6% Annual Fee will be applied to gross receipts on all income earned as a result of providing mountaineering services within Denali National Park and Preserve. A $200 non-refundable portion of the Annual Fee is due with each application.

    Annual fee based on percentage of gross receipts for Mountaineering ($200 annual fee acts as credit): All income—6% of gross receipts.

Important information about applications and annual reporting:
  • Please review the CUA Handbook for application instructions and a checklist of all required application materials and annual reporting requirements.
  • Activity reports will continue to be submitted annually but may change to monthly electronic reports in the future.

For new applicants, welcome and thank you for joining in our efforts to provide meaningful experiences in Denali. For those of you returning, welcome back and thank you for your continued contributions to that effort. If you have any questions or wish for more information, we are happy to help. Please e-mail the CUA Program Manager or call 907-683-5752.


Landon Labahn
CUA Program Manager
Denali National Park and Preserve

This is a notice of change of terms to all current commercial use authorizations issued before June 18, 2018:

Condition #14 on minimum wages shall read as follows:

1. Minimum Wage: The holder is required to adhere to Executive Order 13658 – Establishing a Minimum Wage for Contractors. The implementing regulations, including the applicable authorization clause, are incorporated by reference into this contract as if fully set forth in this contract and available at

Exemption: Under Executive Order 13838, Executive Order 13658 shall not apply to contracts or contract-like instruments entered into with the Federal Government in connection with seasonal recreational services or seasonal recreational equipment rental for the general public on Federal lands, but this exemption shall not apply to lodging and food services associated with seasonal recreational services. Seasonal recreational services include river running, hunting, fishing, horseback riding, camping, mountaineering activities, recreational ski services, and youth camps.

Application Documents & Links

If you are applying for a new CUA or renewing your current CUA, please use the following links to access current forms:


  1. CUA Handbook

    The Commercial Use Authorization (CUA) Handbook provides details like important dates in the application process, frequently asked questions, and more.

  2. CUA Application
    1. Appendix A: Map of Authorized Areas for CUAs
    2. Appendix B: 2018 Insurance Requirements for CUAs in Denali
    3. Appendix C: 2018 Licenses, Certifications and Training
  3. Common-to-All Stipulations, Activity-Specific Stipulations
    Common-to-All Stipulations include national, regional, and park-specific conditions for operating under a CUA. Activity-specific stipulations give additional conditions on specific CUA activities.
  4. Guided Mountaineering Stipulations and Guided Mountaineering Supplemental Information
    For guided mountaineering commercial use authorizations only.

Reporting Forms

  1. Guide & Vehicle List Template
    Due May 1 or before CUA operation begins.
  2. Annual Activity Report Forms
    Required for all CUA holders. Please note: Most guided activities will use the first sheet in this workbook; activities involving air taxis or flights for hunting will use the second sheet.

    This form must be submitted by January 31 of each year, following the year of operations (e.g., a report for calendar year 2018 would be due on January 31, 2019).
  3. Annual Financial Report Form (10-660)
    Required for all CUA holders. Please note: If you are a business applying for a CUA in more than one national park in Alaska, you only need to submit one 10-660 form to the National Park Service.

    This form must be submitted by January 31 of each year, following the year of operations (e.g., a report for calendar year 2018 would be due on January 31, 2019).


  1. NPS-approved Acknowledgement of Risk
  2. For application and/or annual fee payment
  3. Fee Calculators
    An optional tool to assist with the calculation of your annual fee.
  4. Wildlife Safety Information
  5. Leave No Trace Messaging
    Please note, all guides working for a CUA holder must have a Leave No Trace certificate, which can be acquired through the Leave No Trace online awareness course
  6. Revocation Policy

Types and Descriptions of CUAs in Denali

Below is a description of possible CUAs in Denali. These "service category descriptions" are separated out by broad categories. Some refer to particular locations or trails; see our maps if you're unfamiliar with these specific areas.

Land-Based Guiding

Activity Details
Guided Day Hiking - Frontcountry Day hiking on approved trails in the park frontcountry.
  • Denali Bike Trail
  • Jonesville Trail
  • Roadside Trail
  • Rock Creek Trail
  • Triple Lakes Trail
McKinley Station Trail (only when accessing the Triple Lakes Trail)
Guided Day Hiking - Backcountry Day hiking in areas of the park backcountry. Special provisions apply to Backside Lake and Dunkle Hills.
Guided Overnight Hiking Hiking and carrying backpacks and necessary supplies and equipment with the intent of establishing and staying in temporary overnight camps.
Group Camping - Savage River Campground Overnight camping in the Savage Campground in designated group campsites.
Snow-based Activities Skiing, snowshoeing and hiking on snow.


Activity Details
Guided Mountaineering Activities that involve rock, ice or snow climbing and/or glacier travel requiring the use of ropes, ice axes, harnesses, climbing hardware, crampons, specialized clothing, etc.

Air Transportation

Activity Details
Air Taxi Air transportation involving the drop-off and/or pick-up of visitors within park boundaries.
Incidental Hunt Transport An air taxi for the carriage of big game hunters, their equipment, or big game animals harvested by hunters is only an incidental portion of its’ business. The word “incidental” means transportation provided to a big game hunter by an air taxi who does not :
(i) charge more than the usual tariff or charter rate for the carriage of bug game hunters, their equipment, or big game animals harvested by hunters; or
(ii) advertise transportation services or big game hunting services to the public. The word “advertise” means soliciting big game hunters to be customers of an air taxi operator or air carrier for the purpose of providing air transportation to, from, or in the field through the use of print or electronic media, including advertising at trade shows or the use of hunt broker services or other promotional services.

Auto Transportation

Activity Details
Road-based Winter Vehicle Tours Use of the Denali Park Road by motorized vehicle as far west as Mountain Vista Turnout to provide on-board interpretation of the park. The season begins mid-February and continues to May 10 and is weather dependent.


Last updated: June 18, 2018

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

PO Box 9
Denali Park, AK 99755


(907) 683-9532
A ranger is available 9 am - 4 pm daily (except on major holidays). If you get to the voicemail, please leave a message and we'll call you back as soon as we finish with the previous caller.

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