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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
Commercial Use Authorizations for wedding and photography services

2018 CUA Updates

Great Smoky Mountains National Park's Commercial Use Authorization (CUA) program is implementing changes for the 2018 operating season which will better protect the park's resources and provide for the ongoing management, oversight, and monitoring of the CUA program

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.
A CUA is required if you, as an individual, organization, or company, provide any goods, activities, services, agreements, or other function for members, clients, or the public that:
  • take place at least in part in Great Smoky Mountains National Park,
  • use park resources, and
  • result in compensation, monetary gain, benefit, or profit.
Businesses and individuals may not conduct commercial activities in the park without a valid CUA or in a manner inconsistent with the terms of the CUA.

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
Use the information below for all inquiries through December 2017:
Click on a link below for additional information and application forms:

• Guides, workshops, hikers shuttle services, guide tours
Commercial wedding and photography activities
Emergency road service and towing

CUA Fees for Permits
CUA Application Fee--$200 (non-refundable)
CUA Cost Recovery Fee--$360 for 24 months or $15 per month for a term less than 24 months
Fees for CUAs are determined by a cost analysis in compliance with the 2005 Interim Guidelines for CUAs. This guidance authorizes the National Park Service to recover, at a minimum, associated management and administrative costs associated with CUAs.
Online Payment for Commercial Use Authorization Fees

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.

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

For additional information about CUA permits, please email the park.


Several concessioners provide commercial services for visitors to Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Services provided by concessioners are those that have been determined to be necessary and appropriate for public use and enjoyment of the park. Services provided by concessioners in the park include horseback riding, carriage rides, hayrides, bicycle rental, campground convenience items, and backcountry food and lodging.

Click for a list of concessioners operating in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. This file includes a map of concession locations in the park.

Concessioners operate under concession contracts that are awarded periodically through a competitive selection process. The opportunity to compete for award of a concession contract is published in a prospectus that is available to the public. Click to go to the National Park Service prospectus website.

Last updated: August 9, 2017

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

107 Park Headquarters Road
Gatlinburg, TN 37738


(865) 436-1200

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