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Commercial Use Authorizations

 

What is a Commercial Use Authorization?

A Commercial Use Authorization (CUA) is a business permit with the National Park Service. It authorizes you or your organization to conduct commercial activities and to provide specific visitor services within a national park. You must have a CUA if you or your organization provide services that:

  • take place at least in part in Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve,
  • use park resources,
  • and result in compensation, monetary gain, benefit, or profit.

Your organization is considered a business if it provides goods, services, activities, or other things to the public using National Park Service lands. If you receive any form of compensation for the things you provide, you are conducting a business or commercial activity. The National Park Service definition of a business or commercial organization does not distinguish between commercial and non-profit organizations.You may not conduct commercial activities in the park without a valid CUA or in a manner inconsistent with the terms of the CUA. You must carry a complete copy of your Commercial Use Authorization with you at all times while operating in the park.

What are the general criteria for the issuance of a CUA?

The authorization is issued to a qualified operator to permit the provision of appropriate commercial services to park area visitors. A qualified operator is an organization that the superintendent determines has the ability to satisfactorily provide visitor services and carry out the terms of the CUA.

Authorized commercial services must:

  • Have minimal impact on park area’s resources and values;
  • Are consistent with the purpose for which the park area was established;
  • Are consistent with all applicable park area management plans, policies, and regulations.

The holder must agree to comply with all of the general and specific conditions described in the CUA conditions. You should familiarize yourself with these documents before applying for a CUA.

What commercial activities are authorized at Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve?

  • Portrait photography, including wedding, engagement, senior portraits, etc.

  • Photographic workshops

  • Guided day hiking

  • Guided overnight camping

  • Horseback Riding

  • Dude Ranch Amenities

  • Guided Hunting Service (Preserve Only)

  • Vending

  • Campstore

  • Firewood Sales

  • 4WD Tours

What commercial activities are not authorized at Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve?

  • Food Services, such as food trucks

  • Sandboard rentals

What fees do I need to pay?

Application FeeYou are required to pay a nonrefundable application fee each time you submit an application. The application fee amount is currently determined by each park. This fee allows the park to recover costs associated with processing and approving or denying your CUA application.Management FeeIn addition to the application fee, you must pay a management fee that allows the park to recovercosts associated with managing CUAs. This fee may vary because each CUA type requires a different degree of management and monitoring.A $300 application/administrative fee for each service category is due with the application. This fee is non-refundable.

How long are CUAs good for?

  • Activity Based CUAs, such as Portrait Photography, Jeep Tours, Overnight Backpacking, Day Trips and horseback riding, will be issued for up to one year. The operating year is from January 1st to December 31st.
  • Service Based CUAs, such as Firewood/Camp store and vending, will be issued for up to two years. The operating year is from January 1st to December 31st.

Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve requires the following information in order to complete a CUA application:

CUA application packets are accepted year-round.

  1. Complete CUA application packets should be submitted via mail to:
    Great Sand Dunes National Park
    Attn: Permits Office
    11500 State Highway 150
    Mosca, CO 81146
  2. Complete application packets include the documents listed below:
    • NPS Form 10-550—CUA Application (fillable Word file, 668 kb)
    • Application Fee of $300
    • An itinerary of the areas of the park you are planning on using for guided activities
    • Proof of required training for activity (i.e. First Aid and CPR) Listed on Application
    • Commercial general liability insurance certificate (see below for amounts)
    • Auto liability insurance certificate (view example .jpg image, 526 kb)
    • Visitor Acknowledgement of Risk (Word file, 32 kb) (If clients are required to sign one; this includes participant agreements, liability waivers, indemnification agreements, etc.)
  3. If your application is missing any components listed above, we will inform you via the email address or phone number listed on the application. Any incomplete applications will be placed on hold until all required documentation is received.
  4. Once your application packet has been reviewed and approved, we will send the CUA, NPS Form 10-115, via the email address listed on the application.
  5. The CUA holder will then sign and return the CUA form(s) to the Great Sand Dunes Permit Office. The CUA is not final until the signed form(s) are received by our office.

Proof of Adequate General Liability Insurance and Automobile Insurance

Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve needs to be listed on the General Liability Insurance as an additional insurer on the face of the policy. To make sure the park receives a copy, it needs to read as follows:

United States Government Department of the Interior
National Park Service
Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve
11500 HWY 150
Mosca, CO 81146

We require the following coverage:

COMMERCIAL GENERAL LIABILITY INSURANCE

Single Purpose Activities

$500,000

Vehicle Insurance
(bodily injury and property damage)

Minimum per Occurrence
Liability Limits*

Up to 6 passengers

$1,000,000

7 – 15 passengers

$1,500,000

16 – 25 passengers

$3,000,000

26+ passengers

$5,000,000


All paperwork should be completed and returned to the Permits Office no later than one month prior to operating in the park to make sure all parties have the appropriate paperwork on file. This change has been made due to an increase in the number of permits being issued.

All required documents must be received, reviewed, and the permit signed by the Superintendent prior to operating in the park. Once executed, a signed original permit will be returned to you.

What are the reporting requirements?

CUA holders must submit an annual report each year. This report is due at the end of season. This report provides the park with visitation statistics, reportable injury data, and a record of annual gross receipts. Download the CUA Annual Report Form (Word file, 638 kb, updated 2021).

CUA Denial and Revocation Policy

CUA Denial and Revocation Policy (Word file, 33 kb)
This policy is intended to provide guidance regarding the actions taken in the event of a permittee violation (as defined in this policy). The Superintendent, at his or her discretion, may take actions other than those identified and retains the authority to immediately suspend, restrict or revoke a CUA or deny a future CUA application for any reason not covered by this policy memorandum.

Questions?

Call the Great Sand Dunes Permit Office at 719-378-6321, or send an email.

Last updated: November 17, 2022

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Contact Info

Mailing Address:

Visitor Center
11999 State Highway 150

Mosca , CO 81146

Phone:

719 378-6395
Great Sand Dunes Visitor Center main number

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