What is a Commercial Use Authorization (CUA)?
A commercial use authorization (CUA) allows an individual, group, company, or other for-profit entity to conduct commercial activities and provide specific visitor services within a national park unit. The National Park Service (NPS) issues CUAs to manage a wide-range of commercial visitor services in addition to road-based commercial tours.
Federal law mandates the NPS issue CUAs only for commercial activities and visitor services that:
- are determined to be an appropriate use of the park,
- will have minimal impact on park resources and values, and
- are consistent with the park purpose, management plans, policies, and regulations.
Do I need a CUA?
You may not conduct commercial activities in a park unit without a valid CUA!
A CUA is required if you provide any goods, activities, services, agreements, or other function for members, clients, or the public that:
- take place at least in part on lands managed by the National Park Service,
- use park resources, and
- result in compensation, monetary gain, benefit, or profit.
Each individual park allows specific commercial activities.
What commercial activities are currently allowed in Devils Tower National Monument?
Activities currently approved in the park:
If the activity you wish to provide is not listed, please call us at 307-467-5283 x636 or e-mail us
How do I apply for a CUA?
Devils Tower National Monument requires the following information in order to complete a CUA application:
- A completed application: Commercial Use Authorization Application form. Submit with the complete application package pursuant to instructions listed in the application.
- Non-refundable application fee
- Check or money order made payable to the National Park Service
- To pay online, call 307-467-5283 x636 or e-mail us.
- Proof of adequate general liability insurance and automobile insurance. See “Attachment A” of the application form for complete requirements. Devils Tower National Monument needs to be listed on the General Liability Insurance as an additional insurer on the face of the policy. It needs to read as follows:
United States Government
Department of the Interior
National Park Service
Devils Tower National Monument
P.O. Box 10
Devils Tower, WY 82714
- General comprehensive liability: $500,000 occurrence as a minimum or if the policy is written as a combination policy covering bodily injury and property damage or $1,000,000 general aggregate. Climbing guide services will require $1,000,000 per occurrence at a minimum and $2,000,000 general aggregate. If a CUA holder transports passengers or uses a vehicle in the performance of the service in the park, they are required to have automobile liability insurance. The auto liability insurance must include coverage of "owned, leased, rented or hired" vehicles if the CUA holder rents or leases vehicles. Minimum auto liability insurance:
| Vehicle Insurance
(bodily and injury property damage)
| Minimum per Occurance of Liability Limits*
| Up to 6 passengers
| 7-15 passengers
| 15-25 passengers
| 26 or more passengers
*Indicated minimum per occurrence liability limit or minimum State liability requirement in State or operation, whichever is greater.
- Operating Plan that includes:
- Description of proposed services to be provided
- Proposed itinerary for planned trips, itinerary should include beginning and ending dates, routes, etc.
- Group size, including guide to client ratio.
- Lesson plan in Leave No Trace practices, including park rules and regulations, sanitation precautions/procedures, and other resource protection measures.
- Safety procedures.
- Emergency procedures including but not limited to contact points, use of cellular or satellite phones, first aid equipment and training.
- Outline of client orientation.
- Required documentation (See “Attachment B” of the Application form)
- A current brochure of your rates or a website that has information such as rates and trip dates. Climbing guide services must disclose the June Voluntary Closure in their advertising material related to Devils Tower.
- Please include a copy of the "Acknowledgment of Risk" that you have your clients and guests sign before participating in the guided activity. Forms cannot be a waiver of liability, insurance disclaimer or indemnification agreement. See “Attachment D” of the Application form for an approved example.
- If applying for a Special Use Permit (SUP) in lieu of a CUA, include the following in your application package:
- A statement attesting that no taxable income will be derived from activities within the NPS boundary, and
- Proof of the organization’s Federal tax-exempt status that shows the section of the IRS code under which the organization is exempt. Note: SUPs in lieu of CUAs are still required to pay the application fee for activities
Annual Reporting Requirements
Commercial Use Authorization operators, including applicants and current CUA holders, are required to submit the following items:
- Submit your Annual Report for the previous year by January 31
- Ensure that your insurance company has provided the park with a current certificate of insurance and renewed certificates when they occur
- Provide updates on guides and required documentation as changes occur
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the fees for a CUA?
- $100 Application Fee: a non-refundable application fee is due with the application for each service category.
- Market Price Fee: guided services that gross receipts less than $250,000 for services conducted in the Monument will be charged 3% of gross receipts. This price includes the non-refundable $100 application fee due at the time the application is submitted.
Why does the park charge a fee for a CUA?
National Park Service policy requires the Superintendent to charge a reasonable fee for CUAs. The park retains such fees to help pay for the cost of the CUA program, including administration, evaluations, monitoring and training, and to fund improvements to visitor services. Fees will be reviewed every two years, to validate price structure or determine if a switch to direct operational cost recovery is needed.
Why does the NPS require CUAs?
The requirement is in 36 CFR 5.3 - It is illegal to conduct business in a park area without a permit, contract, or other written agreement. Additionally, Public Law 105-391 Section 418, passed in 1998, provides NPS the authority to issue CUAs to allow business operations and requires NPS to collect a reasonable fee for CUA administration and management.
How long does it take to obtain a CUA?
A minimum of thirty (30) business days is required for issuance of a CUA. Delays will occur if application materials are not submitted accurately or completely, or if authorizations needing operator signature are not returned promptly. All required documentation must be received before the CUA will be issued.
What happens once I submit an application?
- Once we have reviewed your application packet you will be notified if further information is needed. Once we have received all required documents, we will review your application packet. All requests will receive a response. If approved, we will send you a CUA authorization form for your signature.
- You will then need to sign and return the CUA authorization form for final approval.
- You are not authorized to begin providing commercial services in the Park until your receive the CUA that has been signed by the Superintendent, or delegated official.
Road-based Commercial Tour CUA Information
The NPS is standardizing road-based commercial tour commercial use authorization (CUA) requirements and fees
What is included in the standard process and when will it go into effect?
The standard process affects road-based commercial tour operations beginning January 1, 2021.
Starting on that date, road-based commercial tour operators are required to:
- Obtain a CUA for each NPS unit in which they operate;
- Pay required CUA fees (see below), and;
- Submit mandatory annual CUA reports after each CUA operating season.
Until the standard process is implemented, Devils Tower will use the Commercial Tour Fee Schedule
to determine entrance fees.
How does the National Park Service define a road-based commercial tour operator?
A road-based commercial tour is defined as one or more persons traveling by vehicle on an improved roadway on an itinerary that a company or individual has packaged and priced for leisure/recreational purposes. Road-based commercial tours generally provide no other visitor services except those incidental to road-based travel in an NPS unit (on-board interpretation and information, and incidental stops at visitor centers, restaurants, wayside exhibits, etc.).
Who needs to acquire the road-based commercial tour CUA — the tour operator or the chartered motorcoach company?
The responsibility for obtaining a road-based commercial tour CUA will fall on the company that packaged, priced, and sold the tour. A chartered motorcoach company does not need a road-based commercial tour CUA if the tour company paying for charter service determines the origin, destination, and scheduling of the trip. A charter company advertising tours to Devils Tower, however, meets the definition of road-based commercial tour and must have a road-based commercial tour CUA.
How much are the standard road-based commercial tour CUA fees?
$300 Application Fee
- Road-based commercial tour operators will pay an annual $300 non-refundable CUA application fee for each submitted CUA application. 100% of collected CUA application fees stay within Devils Tower and are used to recover the administrative costs of receiving, reviewing, and processing CUA applications and required reports. The NPS will adjust this application fee periodically to account for increased costs including inflation.
- A $5 per client CUA management fee will be deducted from per-person entrance fees paid by road-based commercial tour CUA holders. Beginning January 1, 2021, road-based commercial tour operators will pay the $15 per-person entrance fee per passenger (this does not include the driver and/or guide). 100% of collected CUA management fees stay within Devils Tower and are used to recover day-to-day road-based commercial tour management and monitoring costs and to fund visitor experience improvement projects. NPS will adjust the management fee periodically to account for increased costs including inflation.