Commercial Use Authorizations (CUA)
Click on a link below for a list of businesses authorized under a CUA:
• Commerical 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.
The park currently issues CUAs for the following visitor services:
- Hiking, backpacking, and fishing guide services
- Phtography guide services and workshops
- Certain commercial wedding and portrait photography activities
- Hiker shuttle services
- Guided tours and workshops
- Boat trips and shuttles on Fontana Lake
- Emergency road service and towing
We issue CUAs for the following categories:
- CUA Guides: Overnight Backpacking, Day Hiking, Fishing
- CUA Road Based Commercial Tour, Workshops, and Hiker Shuttle: Commercial Road Tour, Guided Frontcountry Tours, Workshops, Hiker Shuttle Services
- CUA Wedding and Photography: Wedding coordinating services and portrait photography
- CUA Emergency Road Service: Emergency roadside assistance and towing
This fee is payable by check or money order sent to the park address, or by credit/debit card, PayPal, Amazon, or bank transfer through the online system, www.pay.gov. Simply search for the form "Great Smoky Mountains NP Commercial Use Authorization Fees" in pay.gov to be directed to the proper payment site. You will need to submit a copy of the payment confirmation page with your CUA application as proof of payment.
Annual Market Price Fee: Based on percentage of annual gross receipts
This fee is due after the first calendar year of operation and will be based on a percentage of gross receipts minus the $250 Application Fee. The CUA holder will be notified of the exact amount owed after the submission of the Annual Reporting form.
The standard market price range is as follows:
|Gross Receipts Earned From Park Operations||Market Price Percentage Charged|
|< $250,000||3% of gross receipts|
|$250,000 to $500,000||4% of gross receipts|
|> $500,000||5% of gross receipts|
For companies whose percentage of gross receipts does not reach $250 during the first year of the CUA, no remaining fees will be owed for that year. If the percentage of second year gross recipts plus the percentage of the first year does not reach $250, again nothing will be owed for the second year of operation. CUA holders will only owe the market price when the percentage of their gross receipts for the two years exceeds $250.
A CUA Fee Calculator has been developed to assist in estimating the annual CUA feed due to the park.
Annual Reporting Form
The Annual Market Price Fee will be based on the Annual Report form which is due to the park by March 1 of each year. This form outlines the operations and monies collected from CUA operations from the previous year.
CUA Application Process
Processing time for CUA permits can take four or more weeks depending on the time of year so please plan accordingly. All applications will be processed in the order in which they are received. Please submit all required documents in one application packet. Any incomplete applications will be placed on hold until all required documents are received.
Additional CUA Information for Applications
Guide Registration Form
Tour Bus Guide
Submitting Your Application
Complete application packets can be mailed to:
Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Attn: Concessions Office
107 Park Headquarters Rd
Gatlinburg, TN 37738
Or emailed to:
For additional information about CUA permits, please email the park.