Commercial Use Authorizations

What is a Commericial Use Authorization (CUA)?

36 CFR Section 5.3 states, “Engaging in or soliciting any business in park areas, except in accordance with the provisions of a permit, contract, or other written agreement with the United States, except as specifically authorized under special regulations applicable to a park area, is prohibited.”

CUAs, a type of permit, fall under the authority of Section 418 of the National Park Service Concession Management Improvement Act of 1998 (16 U.S.C 5966 Public Law 105-81). The section authorizes the National Park Service to issue CUAs to individuals, corporations, and other entities to provide commercial services to park visitors in limited circumstances.

What commercial activities are authorized at Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore?

  • Food Service
  • Canoe / Kayak / Bicycle Rentals
  • Bicycle Tours
  • Hiking/Camping/Snowshoeing Education Classes
  • Yoga Classes
  • Commercial Tours (Bus, Watercraft, Horse, Other)
  • Beach Shuttle Service
  • Gifts / Souvenir sales
  • Convenience Items / Sundries
  • Firewood for Campground
  • Beach-related Items
  • Ski / Snowshoe Rentals
  • Art Workshops

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 are the fees for a CUA?

A $100 application/administrative fee for each service category is due with the application. This fee is non-refundable.

Why does the park charge a fee for a CUA?

National Park Service Policy requires the Superintendent to charge a reasonable fee for CUAs. The park retains such fees to help pay for the cost of the CUA program, including administration, evaluations, monitoring and training.

How long does it take to obtain a CUA?

You should anticipate that you will receive the issuance of a CUA a minimum of 7-10 business days after we receive the application. Delays will occur if application materials are not submitted accurately or completely, or if authorizations needing operator signature are not returned promptly. All required documentation must be received before the CUA will be issued.

How do I submit an application?

Download the Commercial Use Authorization Application
Once you have all of the required documentation, you can submit either electronically or by mail:

Scan and email your signed application package to Amber Siewin, Permit Coordinator: e-mail us

Or mail your application package and check to:

Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore
1100 N. Mineral Spring Road
Porter, IN 46304

Don't Forget to Submit Prompt Payment!

Submit the application fee right away; your permit will not be processed until the fee is received. Payment must be made in the form of charge card authorization, check or money order made payable to the National Park Service.
What happens once I submit an application?
  1. Once we have reviewed your application packet you will be notified if further information is needed. Once we have received all required documents, we will send you a CUA authorization form for your signature.
  2. You will then need to sign and return the CUA authorization form for final approval.
  3. You are not authorized to begin providing commercial services in the Park until your receive the CUA that has been signed by the Superintendent, or delegated official.
  4. You will need to submit an annual report by January 31 each year for the previous calendar year of service in the park. View annual report.

Contact our CUA Coordinator with questions

Contact Amber Siewin by email or telephone at (219) 395-1859, e-mail us for additional information and questions.

Last updated: February 14, 2018

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

1100 North Mineral Springs Road
Porter, IN 46304


(219) 395-1882
Indiana Dunes Visitor Center phone number.

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