What is a Commercial Use Authorization?
A Commercial Use Authorization (CUA) is a business permit with the National Park Service that authorizes an individual, group, company, or other for-profit entity to conduct commercial activities and provide specific visitor services within a national park area. The National Park Service will only issue CUAs for commercial activities and visitor services that:
- are determined to be an appropriate use of Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine;
- will have minimal impact on the park's resources and values; and
- are consistent with the purpose, management plans, policies, and regulations of Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine.
Federal law (54 USC 101925) states that a CUA is required if you, as an individual, organization, or company, provide any goods, activities, services, agreements, or other function for members, clients, or the public that:
- take place at least in part at Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine,
- use park resources, and
- result in compensation, monetary gain, benefit, or profit,
- advertises sponsored tours,
- is involved as an added tour, main tour, or a commercial bus that brings visitors to the site.
Businesses and individuals may not conduct commercial activities in the park without a valid CUA or in a manner inconsistent with the terms of the CUA. Per 36 CFR 5.3, engaging in or soliciting any business in park areas, except in accordance with the provisions of a permit, contract, or other written agreement with the United States, is prohibited.
The process to obtain a CUA can take up to three weeks. Authorizations for complex service such as temporary food and beverage services may take longer to process due to other regulatory requirements. Applications are reviewed in the order they are received.
Per 54 USC 101925(b)(2)(A), a reasonable fee will be charged for the issuance of the commercial use authorization. The following are expected fees:
- Annual Application Fee: The nonrefundable application fee for CUAs is $50.This fee is due at application submission.
- Annual Management Fee: In addition to the application fee, CUA holders must pay a management fee to allow Fort McHenry to recover costs associated with managing CUAs.
The yearly fee is $150, which can be paid by credit card or check made out to DOI-NPS and mailed to:
Fort McHenry NM&HS
2400 E. Fort Avenue
Baltimore, MD 21230
The NPS requires all permittees to carry liability insurance for at least $1,000,000.00. This must be submitted before the CUA can be finalized. The “United States of America” must be listed as the additionally insured, and the certificate holder must be as follows:
Fort McHenry NM&HS 2400 E. Fort Avenue Baltimore, MD 21230
CUA holders must submit an annual report each year that includes visitation statistics, reportable injury data, and a record of annual gross receipts. Not returning this form by the due date is grounds for revocation or non-renewal of your CUA.
Please read the Commerical Use Authorization Memorandum, then fill out the CUA application form and email it to FOMC_Permits@nps.gov. For any inquiries about a CUA, please call 410-962-4290x203 to speak with the CUA Coordinator.