What is a Commercial Use Authorization (CUA)?
A Commercial Use Authorization is a business permit with the National Park Service (NPS) which authorizes an individual, group, company or other for profit entity to provide specific visitor services and operate within a National Park area.
What does the Federal law (PL 105-391, Section 418) require?
The law requires that CUAs:
Do I, my company, group or organization need a CUA?
A CUA is required if you as an individual, organization, or corporation provide any goods, activities, services, agreements, or other function for members, clients, or the public which takes place at least in part of the National Park, uses Park resources, and results in compensation, monetary gain, benefit, or profit.
What constitutes a commercial tour or service?
A commercial tour or service consists of one or more persons traveling on an itinerary that has been packaged, priced, or sold for leisure/recreational purposes by an organization that realizes financial gain through the provision of the service.
Can the number of CUAs be limited?
Yes. Per Public Law 105-391, section 418, the superintendent cannot issue more CUA permits than are consistent with the preservation and proper management of park resources and values. It may be necessary for the superintendent to establish limits on the number of private individuals, institutional use and commercial use. One tool is to limit the number of commercial operators. Other tools may include limiting use of all types by time period, area, number of trips, user days, party size or other parameters.
Is there a cost for the CUA?
Yes. Public Law 105-391, Section 418, requires the National Park Service to collect a reasonable fee for commercial use authorizations at an amount at least sufficient to recover the NPS' costs in administering and managing the CUAs. The fee rates may be reviewed and revised annually in accordance with the agency's Reference Manual 48B (RM 48B). The CUA fee is $550 for all operations.
CUA application instructions and packets may be downloaded from the Park website.
Please read the application instructions and all attachments before applying for a CUA. Completed application packets must be mailed to the park. Emailed applications will no longer be accepted. All items listed on the Application Packet Checklist must be included in order to qualify for a CUA.
Last updated: October 22, 2018