Commercial Use Authorizations (CUA)
Click on a link below for a list of businesses authorized under a CUA:
• Commercial Use Authorizations listed by type of service
What is a CUA?
A commercial use authorization 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 Great Smoky Mountains National Park;
- will have minimal impact on Great Smoky Mountains National Park's resources and values; and
- are consistent with Great Smoky Mountains National Park's purpose, management plans, policies, and regulations.
- take place at least in part in Great Smoky Mountains National Park,
- use park resources, and
- result in compensation, monetary gain, benefit, or profit.
CUA Services Offered
Commercial Road-Based Tours:(Click for more information) Defined as one or more persons traveling by improved roadway on an itinerary that is packaged, priced or sold for leisure/recreational purposes and provides no other services except those incidental to road-based travel in a NPS area (on-board interpretation and incidental stops at visitor centers, wayside exhibits, etc.). Tour groups are only permitted on a few designated short trails listed under special conditions of permit.
Guide Services: Hiking, Backpacking, and Fishing: Defined as one or more persons travelling on an itinerary that has been packaged, priced or sold for leisure/recreational purposes and takes place along waterways (fishing), roadways (biking) or in the backcountry more than ¼ mile from the nearest trailhead (hiking/backpacking).
Frontcountry Educational Workshops: Photography, Wildlife: Defined as one or more persons travelling on an itinerary that has been packaged, priced or sold for educational/recreational purposes and takes place along the overlooks, historic areas, roadways, or within ¼ mile of the trailhead on any designated trail.
Backcountry Educational Workshops: Photography, Wildlife: Defined as one or more persons travelling on an itinerary that has been packaged, priced or sold for educational/recreational purposes and a portion of the trip takes place in a backcountry area more than ¼ mile from the trailhead on any designated trail.
Wedding Services and Portrait Photography: Portrait and wedding photographers are defined as photographers that are hired (receiving compensation) to take portraits (photos) of individuals. This includes wedding photography, student and family portraits and documentary style portraiture.
Hiker Shuttle Services: Defined as the service of providing one or more persons direct transportation to and/or from a park trailhead by vehicle or boat for compensation or as a part of a larger package of recreation/lodging services.
Emergency Road Service and Towing