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. Please note CUA holders are required to complete Annual Activity and Annual Financial reports both due by January 31 for the preceding operating year. These reports are required whether the CUA holder operates or not within the respective operating year.
Denali National Park and Preserve accepts CUA applications for the following activities:
Guided Day Hiking—Frontcountry
Guided Day Hiking—Kantishna and Wonder Lake
Guided Day Hiking—Backcountry
Guided Overnight Hiking
Group Camping—Savage River Campground
Guided Winter Activities
Air Taxi (includes Incidental Hunt Transport)
How to Apply
We are excited to announce the launch of the online CUA application and reporting system pilot. CUA applications for the 2023 CUA season will be accepted through the system until April 30, 2023. The system will streamline the application and reporting process for CUA applicants and holders, and NPS will use information gathered during this pilot to further refine the online system before it is fully launched in all NPS sites for the 2024 CUA season. Please reach out to the CUA office if you have questions or concerns. Thank you for your participation!
This video shows how a business can apply for a Commercial Use Authorization (CUA) permit through an online system created in fall 2022. Initially, only Denali and Glacier Bay (both in Alaska) will accept permits through this system—businesses wishing to apply for CUAs to any other park besides Denali or Glacier Bay should use whatever process the park(s) in question require (generally a paper-based form).
18 minutes, 31 seconds
Application Period: November 1 to April 30
All applicants: Please submit applications a minimum of six weeks prior to operating.
Online applicants must complete their application in the system by April 30.
CUA holders are required to meet Common to All Stipulations for National, Interior Region 11, and Denali National Park as well as Activity Specific Stipulations. Please note, all Stipulations are provided and agreed upon during the application process. Please take the time to review the Stipulations and be certain guides understand operating expectations before guiding trips in Denali National Park.
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.
Guided Day Hiking - Frontcountry
CUA holders are authorized to conduct one hike per day on the following trails and routes:
Triple Lakes Trail starting from the DVC
Triple Lakes Trail starting from Mile 230 of the George Parks Highway
McKinley Station Trail starting from the DVC
McKinley Station Trail starting from the Riley Creek Day Use Area and Overflow Parking
Roadside Trail to Rock Creek Trail loop
Rock Creek to Roadside Trail loop
Only the portions of the Horseshoe Lake Trail from the DVC and the DVC parking area as allowed as connections to the McKinley Station and Roadside Trails
Use of the Meadow View, Morino, Spruce Forest, and Jonesville Connector Trails are allowed when using the McKinley Station, Triple Lakes, Roadside, and Rock Creek Trails
Use of the Roadside Bike Trail is allowed
Guided Day Hiking - Backcountry
Day hiking in areas of the park backcountry. Special provisions apply to Backside Lake.
Guided Day Hiking - Kantishna & Wonder Lake
Day hiking within the Kantishna Backcountry Day Use Area, Backcountry units 41, 42, 43 and select areas around Wonder Lake.
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.
Guided Winter Activities
Skiing, snowshoeing and hiking on snow.
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 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.
Last updated: March 3, 2023
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