Commercial Use Authorizations

Grand Canyon National Park is continuing to evaluate and adapt to changing COVID-19 guidance, and to adjust operations as needed.

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Update for issuing 2021 CUAs

Grand Canyon National Park will begin accepting CUA applications for 2021

As we have stated in previous correspondence regarding COVID-19, the Park’s Adaptive Operations Team is meeting weekly to evaluate the status of COVID-19 cases and evaluating what changes should be made. We are planning on returning to full operations by May 21, 2021, but that is contingent on several factors, including the availability of staffing to open campgrounds and other services and the prevalent vaccination rate.

Notwithstanding these unknown eventualities, we will now accept 2021 commercial use authorization (CUA) applications to process in preparation for the eventual lifting of the June 10, 2020 pause of commercial services. Our CUA application process will be the same as previous years. Only complete application packages will be processed, and permits will be issued on a first come, first served basis only after the pause on issuance of CUAs has been lifted. You will not be able to operate in the Park until your CUA has been issued to you.

There is no guarantee that new 2021 CUAs will be issued this season at all if the COVID-19 situation does not improve.

Also, note that CUA Application Fees are Non-Refundable. Even if your CUA is not issued, we cannot refund your application fee. We are required to collect cost-recovery fees as these fees cover the staff time to process CUA applications. See 54 U.S.C. § 103104.

Submitting a CUA application early for processing is optional. You are welcome to wait to apply once a firm date has been determined to allow more CUAs into the park. But be advised, we do require up to 4 weeks to process a CUA application.

Find CUA forms and application instructions on the How to Apply for a CUA page.

As the COVID-19 pandemic runs its course, operational conditions within the park are subject to change. This could include closures, changes in operational hours, availability of facilities, suspension, or further modification of CUA activities, etc. We will notify all CUA holders of any changes in operations via email.Thank you for your interest in operating tours in Grand Canyon National Park. Please e-mail us at the Permits Office with any questions.

Banner collage of CUA related photos

What is a Commercial Use Authorization (CUA)?

A CUA allows an individual, group, company or other for-profit entity to provide commercial visitor services within a National Park area. Services provided to NPS employees are not covered by CUAs (e.g., Schwan's grocery delivery). Commercial Use Authorizations (CUAs) are required for all commercial visitor services provided by a company or organization not based in the park.

What does the law and regulations say about CUAs?

PL 105-391, Section 418 and 36 CFR 5.3 require NPS issue and charge a reasonable fee for CUAs. The law requires that NPS ensure CUAs:

  • Are accomplished in a manner consistent to the highest practicable degree with the preservation and conservation of park resources and values;
  • Are consistent with the purpose for which the Park was established;
  • Comply with all applicable management plans, park policies and regulations;
  • Are subjects to conditions promoting the safety of visitors;
  • Limit the liability of the United States Government;
  • Are subjet to a reasonable fee that at a minimum recovers administrative and management costs of the CUA.

Who needs a CUA?

A CUA is required if an entity provides a good, activity, service, or other function to visitors in a NPS managed area, 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 profits from providing that service.

You must be in possession of a valid CUA to conduct business in Grand Canyon National Park.

How to Apply for a CUA

Find CUA forms and application instructions on the How to Apply for a CUA page.

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Last updated: January 28, 2021

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Mailing Address:

PO Box 129
Grand Canyon, AZ 86023



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