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. Starting in the 2020 season, Denali will be issuing one- and two-year CUAs. If selecting a two-year CUA, please note that Annual Activity and Annual Financial Report Forms are due at the end of the calendar year, and stipulations are updated yearly.

Application Period: November 1 to April 30

Note: Please submit applications a minimum of six weeks prior to operating.

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 accepts CUA applications for the following activities:

  1. Guided Day Hiking—Frontcountry
  2. Guided Day Hiking—Kantishna and Wonder Lake
  3. Guided Day Hiking—Backcountry
  4. Guided Overnight Hiking
  5. Group Camping—Savage River Campground
  6. Guided Winter Activities
  7. Guided Mountaineering
  8. Air Taxi
  9. Incidental Hunt Transport


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 (will be updated prior to November 1)

    Also known as "Form 10-550," this file includes instructions on how to fill out the form.

  3. Common-to-All Stipulations and 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.

  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.


  1. Map of Authorized Areas for CUAs
  2. Map of Kantishna and Wonder Lake Guided Hiking Areas of Operation
  3. NPS-approved Acknowledgement of Risk
  4. For application and/or annual fee payment
  5. Fee Calculators
    An optional tool to assist with the calculation of your annual fee.
  6. Wildlife Safety Information
  7. 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
  8. Revocation Policy
  9. Public Health Information for the Park Partner Community

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 Activities

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
Guided Day Hiking - Backcountry Day hiking in areas of the park backcountry. Special provisions apply to Backside Lake and Dunkle Hills.
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.


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.

Last updated: September 28, 2022

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Contact Info

Mailing Address:

PO Box 9
Denali Park , AK 99755


907 683-9532
A ranger is available 9 am to 4 pm daily (except on major holidays). If you reach 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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