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.
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:
- Guided Day Hiking—Frontcountry
- Guided Day Hiking—Backcountry
- Guided Overnight Hiking
- Group Camping—Savage River Campground
- Guided Winter Activities
- Guided Mountaineering
- Air Taxi
- Incidental Hunt Transport
- Road Based Winter Vehicle Tours
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 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.
CUA Program Manager
Denali National Park and Preserve