Commercial Use Authorizations (CUAs)

A Commercial Use Authorization (CUA) is a business permit with the National Park Service that authorizes an individual, group, company, or entity to conduct commercial activities and provide specific visitor services within a national park area.
CUA holders fill a vital role in helping the National Park Service carry out its mission. They offer certain specific goods and services to park visitors, which the NPS does not provide. By welcoming the private sector as a partner in park operations, the National Park Service broadens the economic base of the region in general and the communities surrounding the parks in particular.

Air Taxi flying over Fairweather Mountains

Applying for a Glacier Bay CUA

If you are applying for a CUA permit, go here for Application, Required Fees, Activity Report forms, and other helpful information.

Hikers on a Bartlett Cove trail

Approved CUA Services

Go here for a list of all Glacier Bay NP & Preserve services and stipulations approved for CUA permits.

Climbers reach summit of Mt Fairweather

Glacier Bay and NPS Links

Additional information on Glacier Bay, the National Park Service, and other Parks in Alaska can be found here.


Click here for CUA Activity Reports


Current info on Glacier Bay CUA Program changes and updates can be found here:

Dear Commercial Use Authorization (CUA) Holders and Applicants:

In fall 2018, Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve will be making administrative changes to its Commercial Use Authorization (CUA) program.

Starting on November 1, 2018, all applications, permit issuance, and payment processing will be completed directly through Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve Commercial Services. Beginning at this time, the National Park Service (NPS) Alaska Regional Office will no longer CUA accept applications for Glacier Bay.

Effective in 2019, CUAs for Charter Vessel services will no longer be issued. NPS has designated Charter Vessel services as "necessary and appropriate" for Glacier Bay National Park; they are now permitted under the authority of Concession Contracts.

For new applicants, welcome and thank you for joining in our efforts to provide meaningful experiences in Glacier Bay. For those of you returning, welcome back and thank you for your continued contributions to that effort. If you have any questions or would like for more information, I am happy to help; please e-mail us or call 907-697-2688. Thank you for your interest in "doing business with us".


Mike Atkins
Concessions Management Specialist
Glacier Bay NP& P

Road-based Commercial Tour - Standard Requirements and Fees

In response to feedback from the commercial tour industry, NPS is standardizing commercial use authorization (CUA) requirements and fees for road-based commercial tour operators. A number of road-based commercial tour providers operating in more than one park unit have expressed frustration over inconsistencies in the NPS CUA program due to varying CUA fees and lack of a standard CUA application process.

NPS defines road-based commercial tours are one or more persons traveling by vehicle on an improved roadway:
  • On an itinerary that someone has packaged and sold for leisure/recreational purposes and
  • Provides no other services except those incidental to road-based travel in an area unit of the National Park System (on-board interpretation and incidental stops at visitor centers, restaurants, wayside exhibits, etc.).
At the discretion of the park superintendent, road-based commercial tour CUAs may cover minor additional services such as guided day hiking. Transportation-only services such as taxis and shuttles do not meet the definition of road-based commercial tours because those services are not prepackaged.

When does the standard process go into effect?
The standard process will go into effect on October 1, 2019. Parks should implement the new requirements and fees for the next CUA season after that date. Until that date, parks may continue with their current method of managing road-based commercial tours and calculating road-based commercial tour CUA fees.

What is included in the standard process?
All commercial service providers that do not operate under a NPS concessions contract must have a valid CUA to legally operate in a national park. The requirement is found in 36 CFR 5.3. Public Law 105-391 Section 418, passed in 1998, implements the requirement for NPS to collect a reasonable fee for CUA administration and management. Under these current authorities, there is no basis to exempt road-based commercial tour operators from the requirements of the law.
After September 30, 2019, road-based commercial tour operators must submit a CUA application (NPS Form 10-550) for each park in which they wish to operate. If the application is approved, road-based tour CUA holders must also submit the annual CUA reporting form (NPS Form 10-660) at the beginning of each calendar year for operations the previous year.

Who needs to apply for the road-based commercial tour CUA — the tour operator or the chartered motorcoach company?
The responsibility for obtaining a road-based commercial tour CUA falls on the company that packaged, priced, and sold the tour. The following scenarios should assist parks in understanding the criteria for issuance of a road-based commercial tour CUA:

Scenario 1
A tour company owns vehicles or rents vehicles and provides road-based commercial tours to passengers aboard those vehicles in a national park.

CUA Requirements: The tour company must have a road-based commercial tour CUA for each park in which it operates. The tour company proves it meets the road-based commercial tour CUA commercial vehicle insurance and license requirements by providing required documents during the application process.

Scenario 2
A tour company uses a chartered transportation service to provide road-based tours in NPS. Chartered transportation service is defined as exclusive use of a bus/van and driver for a negotiated price at the request of a third party.

CUA Requirements: The tour company must have a road-based commercial tour CUA for each park in which it operates. The chartered transportation company does not need a CUA if the tour company determines the origin, destination, and scheduling of the trip. The tour company ensures the charter vehicle company meets the road-based commercial tour CUA commercial vehicle insurance and license requirements by agreeing to CUA conditions and signing the CUA application and authorization.

The chartered transportation company does not need a road-based commercial tour CUA if the tour company determines the origin, destination, and scheduling of the trip. A charter company advertising tours to national parks, however, meets the definition of road-based commercial tour and must have a road-based commercial tour CUA.

Parks may continue issuing chartered transportation providers a road-based transportation CUA if the park superintendent determines managing the use is necessary for preservation of park resources and values (e.g., limited or controlled parking availablity). When a tour company uses the services of a chartered transportation company with a road-based transportation CUA, the tour company does not need to secure a separate CUA unless the tour group disembarks from the vehicle while within the park.

How much are the standard CUA fees?
CUA Application Fee
Road-based commercial tour operators will pay an annual $300 non-refundable CUA application fee for each CUA application. We will adjust this application fee periodically to account for increased costs including inflation.
CUA Management Fee
For parks that collect an entrance fee, CUA accounts will be credited a $5 per client CUA management fee from per person entrance fees paid by road-based commercial tour operators. Commercial tour operators currently pay a flat entry fee based on vehicle capacity, but beginning October 1, 2019, commercial tour operators will pay the appropriate per-person entrance fee for each passenger.

For parks without entrance fees, road-based commercial tour CUA holders must pay a $5 per client CUA management fee due upon submission of the required annual CUA report. We will adjust the management fee periodically to account for increased costs including inflation.

What happens if a tour company shows up at a park without a CUA?
Commercial tour companies arriving at a park via owned or chartered vehicles without first obtaining a CUA will complete a “Notice of Non-permitted Entry”. The form, not yet finalized, will be available to parks well in advance of the October 1, 2019 implementation date and will grant the company short-term entrance without a CUA.

What if the park does not have a CUA program or cannot enforce the requirements?
Under limited circumstances, parks may request a waiver to opt out of the requirement to issue road-based commercial tour CUAs. Parks may receive a waiver for such things as the inability to establish a CUA program or to enforce the requirement for road-based commercial tour CUAs, or to those parks exempt due to park specific regulations. To request a waiver, the park superintendent must submit a request to the NPS Associate Director of Business Services through their Regional Director.

Minimum Wages

Notice of change of terms to all current Commercial Use Authorizations issued before June 18, 2018:

National Condition #14 shall read as follows: 14. Minimum Wage: The holder is required to adhere to Executive Order 13658 – Establishing a Minimum Wage for Contractors. The implementing regulations, including the applicable authorization clause, are incorporated by reference into this contract as if fully set forth in this contract and available at

Exemption: Under Executive Order 13838, Executive Order 13658 shall not apply to contracts or contract-like instruments entered into with the Federal Government in connection with seasonal recreational services or seasonal recreational equipment rental for the general public on Federal lands, but this exemption shall not apply to lodging and food services associated with seasonal recreational services. Seasonal recreational services include river running, hunting, fishing, horseback riding, camping, mountaineering activities, recreational ski services, and youth camps.

Last updated: July 28, 2022

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Mailing Address:

Glacier Bay National Park & Preserve
PO Box 140

Gustavus , AK 99826


907 697-2230

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