Commercial Use Authorizations

The application period for Commercial Use Authorizations (CUA) is January 2 through May 15 every year.

If you want to conduct commercial activities within Isle Royale National Park, please follow these instructions. We are happy to respond to any CUA questions via email.


Find attachments for specific use CUAs below

There is a non-refundable application fee of $200 for a CUA. Visit pay.gov to pay your fee. Seach "Isle Royale." Find the Isle Royale NP Commercial Use Authorization Fees section, then click on "Continue to Form."
 

Commercial Guided Backpacking Trips

Attachment C: CUA Operating Requirements

Permitted Season Dates

Isle Royale is open to commercial guided backpacking trips from April 16 to October 31.

Required Documents and Equipment

When conducting trips within Isle Royale National Park, the permittee is required to have in their possession the following:

  • Valid State or provincial license, if applicable, covering commercial operations
  • Isle Royale topographic map
  • Copy of Commercial Use Authorization Permit

Required Camping Permits and Party Size Limits.

Camping permits are required for all overnight use within Isle Royale National Park. Permittee must obtain a camping permit before arriving on the Island. Advance group campsite reservations are mandatory for any trip that includes more than six people (including guides/staff), and each permit has a $25 non-refundable processing fee.

Permittee must use established campgrounds for all overnight use; use of cross-country camping zones is prohibited. No party travelling together may be larger than 10 people under any circumstances. Only parties of six or less may use regular campsites and shelters; parties of 7 to 10 must use designated group campsites. All parties under a Commercial Use Authorization Permit or Special Use Permit must follow the nightly itinerary specified on their camping permit.
Permittee may not have more than a total of 20 people camping on the island at any one time. Permittee may not bring more than a cumulative total of 80 people to the park during any one operating season.

Daily Entrance Fee

All visitors must pay a daily per person entrance fee. Only employees of the permittee are exempt from this fee. The Commercial Use Authorization Permit must be presented to fee collection staff in order to be provided the exemption.

Requirement to Clear Customs

Every person entering the United States from Canada must first pass through a U.S. Customs and Immigration inspection. This is true regardless of the nationality of the individual or purpose of the visit. Inspection stations are located at the Windigo and Rock Harbor Ranger Stations.

Reporting Requirements

Permittee is required to prepare and submit an Annual CUA Report. This report must be submitted to the Superintendent, Isle Royale National Park, and must be received no later than November 30 each year. All information requested by the Superintendent must be provided, including Gross Annual Receipts.

Search and Rescue Costs

Permittee will reimburse the National Park Service, Isle Royale National Park, for all costs incurred by the National Park Service in providing search and rescue services to the permittee or permittee's customers.

Compliance With Operating Requirements

Failure to comply with these operating requirements will result in revocation of the Commercial Use Authorization for a minimum period of one year. Violation of park regulations may result in the issuance of a Federal Violation Notice.

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Commercial Kayak Excursions

Attachment C: CUA Operating Requirements

Permitted Season Dates

Isle Royale is open to commercial sea kayaking excursions from April 16 to October 31.

Required Documents

When conducting trips within Isle Royale National Park, the permittee is required to have in their possession the following items:

  • Valid State or provincial license, if applicable, covering commercial operations
  • NOAA Isle Royale chart #14976 and Isle Royale topographic map
  • Copy of Commercial Use Authorization Permit issued by Isle Royale National Park

Required Equipment

Each kayak in the permittee's party shall be equipped with the following:

  • U.S. Coast Guard approved flotation devices
  • Spray skirt
  • Adequate flotation bags or solid water tight bulkhead
  • Bilge pump or bailing device
  • U.S. Coast Guard approved light if traveling at night

In addition, each traveling group shall have one marine radio, a group first aid kit, one flare kit, one safety throw rope, and one spare paddle for every three kayaks in the group.

Required Camping Permits and Party Size Limits

Camping permits are required for all overnight use within Isle Royale National Park. Permittee must obtain a camping permit before arriving on the Island. Advance group campsite reservations are mandatory for any trip that includes more than six people (including guides/staff). Each permit has a $25 non-refundable processing fee.

Permittee must use established campgrounds for all overnight use; use of cross-country camping zones is prohibited. No party travelling together may be larger than 10 people under any circumstances. Only parties of six or less may use regular campsites and shelters; parties of 7 to 10 must use designated group campsites. All parties under a Commercial Use Authorization Permit or Special Use Permit must follow the nightly itinerary specified on their camping permit.
Permittee may not have more than a total of 20 people camping on the island at any one time. Permittee may not bring more than a cumulative total of 80 people to the park during any one operating season.

No commercial kayak trips may originate or end at Windigo due to the absence of campsites along the north and south shores of the park out of Windigo.

Entrance Fee

All visitors must pay a daily per person entrance fee. Only employees of the permittee are exempt from this fee. The Commercial Use Authorization Permit must be presented to fee collection staff in order to be provided the exemption.

Fishing

No fishing license is required to fish the inland lakes of the park. Any fishing conducted on Lake Superior waters requires a valid Michigan State fishing license.

Requirement to Clear Customs

Every person entering the United States from Canada must first pass through an U.S. Customs and Immigration inspection. This is true regardless of the nationality of the individual or purpose of the visit. Inspection stations are located at the Windigo and Rock Harbor Ranger Stations.

Reporting Requirements

Permittee is required to prepare and submit an Annual Report. This report must be submitted to the Superintendent, Isle Royale National Park, and must be received no later than November 30 each year. All information requested by the Superintendent must be provided, including Gross Annual Receipts.

Search and Rescue Costs

Permittee will reimburse the National Park Service, Isle Royale National Park, for all costs incurred by the Service in providing search and rescue services to the permittee or permittee's customers.

Complicance with Operating Requirements

Failure to comply with these operating requirements will result in revocation of the Commercial Use Authorization Permit for a minimum period of one year. Violation of park regulations may result in the issuance of a Federal Violation Notice.

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Sport Fishing Charters

Attachment C: CUA Operating Requirements

Permitted Season Dates

Isle Royale is open to charter fishing excursions beginning April 16 and ending October 31 each year.

Permitted Area

Permittee is authorized to operate on Lake Superior waters only.
Permittee is authorized to fish Lake Superior waters within the park as follows: Siskiwit Bay area from a line running south from the east end of Schooner Island, west to Rock of Ages, thence northeast along the north shore of Isle Royale to a line running north from Kamloops Point.

Closed Area

Permittee is not authorized to operate on the inland lakes of the park.

All park waters east of Kamloops Point on the north of Isle Royale and east of Schooner Island on the south shore are restricted for the exclusive use of Forever Resorts (formerly National Park Concessions, Inc.), and non-commercial sport fishermen.

Waters in the Rock of Ages/Washington Harbor area previously closed to charter operations are open. Forever Resorts, which has exclusive contractual rights to use these waters if they choose to for fishing, retains the right to use this area. If Forever Resorts elects to expand their charter fishing operations to the west end of the park, these areas would again be closed to all other commercial fishing operators. This is not expected to happen, however, within the foreseeable future.

Required Camping Permits

Camping permits are required for all overnight use within Isle Royale National Park. Permittee must obtain a camping permit before camping. This requirement applies regardless of where the overnight use occurs within the park (whether camped at docks, shelters, or anchoring out). Permits are available in-person at Windigo and Rock Harbor Ranger Stations, or contact the park in advance to permit through the Houghton Visitor Center.

Overnight docking is prohibited at National Park Service docks from the second Saturday in July through the third Saturday in August. Permittee must anchor out during this period if remaining in park waters overnight. Permittee is authorized to utilize park campsites and shelters during this time period, but not docks. Outside of these restricted dates, permittee is authorized to dock overnight at park docks.
During the entire operating season, permittee is allowed to occupy only one shelter/campsite per night.

Entrance Fee

All visitors must pay a daily per person entrance fee. Only employees of the permittee are exempt from this fee. The Commercial Use Authorization Permit must be presented to fee collection staff in order to be provided the exemption.

Party Size Limit

Maximum party size for day use allowed under this permit is eight people, which includes captain and crew.

Whenever permittee conducts an overnight charter with more than six people, including captain and crew, overnight use is limited to the main dock at Windigo and the associated campsite at Washington Creek. Use of other docks or campgrounds, such as Beaver Island or Grace Island, is prohibited throughout the operating season whenever a trip includes more than six people since there are no designated group campsites at these locations.

Noise Abatment

As Isle Royale National Park is a wilderness park, permittee is expected to make every reasonable effort to minimize noise associated with operations. Onboard generators may only be operated between the hours of 6:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. EDT at designated locations. Even during these hours, if docked, generator use should be kept to a minimum. These time restrictions are necessary in order to mitigate noise impacts on other park users.

Required Marine Radio Equipment

Each vessel must have an operable, FCC acceptable, marine radio capable of communicating on channels 6, 9, 16, 22, and 68. In addition, the operator is required to monitor channel 16 whenever in Isle Royale waters.

Required Documents and Equipment

At all times, permittee's vessel must have onboard the following items:

  • Valid U.S. Coast Guard License, or Canadian equivalent if applicable, covering commercial operations
  • Required USCG, or Canadian equivalent if applicable, safety equipment
  • NOAA Loran C overprinted chart #14968 and Isle Royale chart #14976
  • Copy of their Isle Royale National Park Commercial Use Authorization Permit
  • Valid State of Michigan Sport Trolling License

Resource Protection

It is National Park Service policy to:

  • Protect the opportunity of natural systems to operate without significant human interruption. The Service is mandated to preserve the natural aquatic habitat and the natural abundance, age, and size distribution of native aquatic species.
  • Manage sport angling so that human uses do not directly compete with or displace natural predators/scavengers.
  • Improve Fisheries Education, Outreach, and Angler Ethics. Promote recreational fisheries as a renewable resource by encouraging non-consumptive methods such as catch and release.
  • Permittee is required to ascertain that all clients have valid State of Michigan fishing licenses, and that all clients comply with Federal and State of Michigan fishing regulations. Permittee is expected to actively promote angler ethics and the protection of park resources.

Requirement to Clear Customs

Every person entering the United States from Canada must first pass through an U.S. Customs and Immigration inspection. This is true regardless of the nationality of the individual or purpose of the visit. Inspection stations are located at the Windigo and Rock Harbor Stations.

Reporting Requirements

Permittee is required to prepare and submit an Annual Report. This report must be submitted to the Superintendent, Isle Royale National Park, and must be received not later than November 30 each year. All information requested by the Superintendent must be provided, including Gross Annual Receipts.

Search and Rescue Costs

Permittee will reimburse the National Park Service, Isle Royale National Park, for all costs incurred by the Service in providing search and rescue services to the permittee or permittee's customers.

Compliance with Operating Requirements

Failure to comply with these operating requirements will result in revocation of the Commercial Use Authorization Permit for a minimum period of one year. Violation of park regulations may result in the issuance of a Federal Violation Notice.

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Sport Diving (SCUBA) Charters

Attachment C: CUA Operating Requirements

Permitted Season Dates

Isle Royale is open to charter sport diving excursions beginning April 16 and ending October 31 each year.

Dive Permits

Permittee is required to issue park Diving Permits to each diver on-board prior to beginning dive activities. Permittee will be issued a supply of blank permits by the park; additional permits may be obtained at the Windigo or Rock Harbor Stations. Permittee is required to drop off the completed dive permits at either ranger station at permittee's convenience prior to leaving park waters or, return the permits by mail (attention Chief Ranger) upon returning to base of operations. If mailed, permits must be received within 10 days of completion of trip.

Areas Closed to Diving

  • All inland lakes of the park;
  • All land-associated underwater archeological sites, known or unknown; and
  • The shipwreck AMERICA between the hours of 12:00 p.m. (noon) and 2:00 p.m. EDT.

Required Certifications and Experience

  1. The captain of any vessel operated by the permittee must be Open Water Scuba Diving certified.
  2. Permittee must have on-board at least one employee certified in Oxygen Aid in Dive Accidents (DAN), or equivalent.
  3. All diving activities must be conducted under the supervision of a certified Dive Master.
  4. Prior to conducting commercial dive trips in the park, the permittee's Dive Master must have the following experience:
    • A minimum of 50 logged dives in water 60 degrees Fahrenheit or colder; and
    • A minimum of two logged dives to each shipwreck site within Isle Royale
  5. National Park to which the permittee offers or conducts dives.
  6. Permittee must acquire and maintain in-water insurance in addition to the insurance coverage stipulated in Attachment B.
  7. Permittee must have on-board at least one employee certified in Standard First Aid and CPR, or equivalent. If only one employee is so certified, that employee may not leave the vessel during diving operations.

Before a CUA can be issued, copies of all required certificates, including in-water insurance, must be provided to the Superintendent. Permittee is required to certify, by a letter to the Superintendent, that Dive Masters utilized by the permittee meet the experience requirements described in Item 4. Park rangers will periodically inspect the dive logbooks of Dive Masters to verify compliance.

Techinical Diving

Permittee must specifically request and receive a special permit endorsement in order to offer and conduct technical diving activities within Isle Royale waters. Technical diving is defined as any diving activity in excess of 140 feet, diving activity (to any depth) requiring decompression, or diving activity at any depth using non-standard air. Technical diving is prohibited without this endorsement.

  1. Prior to conducting any dives requiring decompression or in excess of 140 feet, permittee's Dive Master must have logged a minimum of five dives to each shipwreck site in the park to the depth to which the permittee offers or conducts such dives.
  2. The vessel captain or the Dive Master must be certified to the level of activity being offered, including certification in the use of any particular type of non-standard air being used (e.g., Nitrox Diver, Deep Air, Tri-Mix and/or Technical Nitrox).
  3. If permittee desires toprovide a breathing gas other than standard air, the non-standard air must be provided by a certified gas blending technician.
  4. Appropriate additional in-water insurance to cover technical diving activities offered and conducted is required.

Required Marine Radio Equipment

Each vessel must have an operable, FCC-acceptable marine radio capable of communicating on channels 6, 9, 16, 22, and 68. In addition, the operator is required to monitor channel 16 whenever in Isle Royale waters.

Required Documents and Equipment

At all times, permittee's vessel(s) must have on-board the following items:

  • A valid U.S. Coast Guard license, or Canadian equivalent if applicable, covering commercial operations
  • Written established procedures for handling emergencies
  • Oxygen delivery unit (minimum two hours at 15 liters per minute)
  • A listing of all divers on-board showing certifying organization
  • NOAA Loran C overprinted chart #14968 and Isle Royale chart #14976
  • Rrequired USCG (or Canadian equivalent if applicable) safety equipment
  • Acopy of their Isle Royale National Park Commercial Use Authorization Permit.

REQUIRED CAMPING PERMITS
Permittee must obtain a camping permit for any overnight use within Isle Royale National Park. Permits must be obtained BEFORE camping. This requirement applies regardless of where the overnight use occurs within the park (whether camped at docks or shelters, or anchoring out). Permits are available online at http://www.nps.gov/isro/planyourvisit/permits.htm or from Windigo, Rock Harbor, and Houghton Ranger Stations.

Overnight use of park campgrounds and docks is subject to party size restrictions as stipulated under "Party Size Limits," below.

Overnight Use Restrictions

During the entire operating season, permittee may dock overnight at the concession docks at Snug Harbor, if available. Overnight docking is prohibited at National Park Service docks from the second Saturday in July through the third Saturday in August. Permittee must anchor out during this period if remaining in park waters overnight, except as stipulated below. Clients may, however, utilize park campsites and shelters during the restricted use period. Outside of these restricted use dates, permittee may dock overnight at all public park docks.

Exception: During the restricted docking period, permittee may use the docks at Belle Isle, Windigo, Tobin Harbor, Duncan Bay, and Duncan Bay Narrows after 9:00 p.m. EDT, IF there is space available at the dock and in the associated campsites. Docking prior to 9:00 p.m. is prohibited.

During the entire operating season, permittee may occupy only one shelter/campsite per night.

Party Size Limit

The maximum party size for overnight use allowed under this permit is eight people, which includes the captain and crew.

Whenever the permittee has six or fewer total people on a park trip, permittee may utilize all docks and campsites open and available to the general public, except during the restricted use period.

Whenever the permittee has in excess of six people on an overnight trip, additional camping limitations apply throughout the operating season. On such trips, permittee may anchor out at any location, but overnight use of docks and/or campsites is limited to Snug Harbor, Windigo, and Belle Isle.

On day use trips only, permittee is allowed a maximum of 12 divers, if appropriately licensed by the U.S. Coast Guard.

NOISE ABATEMENT

New regulations implementing provisions of the park's approved General Management Plan are in effect. These include the establishment of designated Quiet/No Wake Zones, a prohibition on the use of personal watercraft (PWC) such as jet skis within the park, and restrictions on the use of electronic devices and generators. Certain docks have been closed to the use of on-board generators. Park ranger stations can provide complete information on the new regulations.

As Isle Royale National Park is a Wilderness park, permittee is expected to make every reasonable effort to minimize noise associated with operations, particularly noise from generators and/or compressors.

Quiet/No-Wake Zones established by the park's approved General Management Plan are now in effect. Regulations associated with these zones must be followed. Key requirements for divers include the following:

  1. If docked, on-board generators may only be operated at certain designated locations between the hours of 6:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. EDT. A list of docks where on-board generator use is permissible is published in the park newspaper or may be obtained from any ranger station. Even where permitted, generator use should be kept to a minimum.
  2. Permittee may fill scuba tanks using an on-board compressor anytime while underway.
  3. Permittee may fill scuba tanks using an on-board compressor while moored at any shipwreck mooring buoy within the park between the hours of 6:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. EDT.
  4. If sea or weather conditions make it unsafe to fill tanks while underway or while moored at shipwreck mooring buoys, tank filling may only be done at the following locations using on-board compressors:
    • Public docks at Rock Harbor and Windigo, from 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. EDT;
    • Dock at Malone Bay, from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. EDT;
    • The far west end of Florence Bay, Glenfiddick Bay (west and north of Duncan Bay Narrows) and the unnamed southwest arm of Five Finger Bay (lying between Stockley Bay and Duncan Bay) from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. EDT.

These time restrictions are necessary in order to mitigate noise impacts on other park users.

Display of Dive Flags

A standard diver flag must be prominently displayed during all dive operations. On the shipwreck AMERICA only, use of a floating diver flag in addition to the vessel diver flag is encouraged (but not required) due to the narrow nature of the North Gap and vessel traffic in the area.

The Dive flag must be illuminated when dive operations take place between sunset and sunrise. The dive flag illumination may not consist of lights that may be confused with navigation lights or aids to navigation lights.

While on the surface, submerging or surfacing the diver must remain within a 100 feet horizontal radius of the diver flag.

Risk Waiver Form

The permittee's risk/liability waiver form (signed by clients) must include the following statement:
"I agree to save, hold harmless, defend and indemnify the United States of America, its agents and employees, including the National Park Service, Isle Royale National Park, for losses, damages, or judgment and expense on account of fire or other peril, bodily injury, death or property damage, or claims for bodily injury, death, or property damage of any nature whatsoever, and by whomever made, arising out of the activities of this commercial service provider."

The form used by the permittee must be provided with the CUA application.

Daily Entrance Fee

All visitors must pay a daily per person entrance fee. Only employees of the permittee are exempt from this fee. The Commercial Use Authorization Permit must be presented to fee collection staff in order to be provided the exemption.

Requirement to Clear Customs

Every person entering the United States from Canada must first pass through a U.S. Customs and Immigration inspection. This is true regardless of the nationality of the individual or purpose of the visit. Inspection stations are located at the Windigo and Rock Harbor Ranger Stations.

Search and Rescue Costs

Permittee will reimburse the National Park Service, Isle Royale National Park, for all costs incurred by the Service in providing search and rescue services to the permittee or permittee's customers.

Compliance with Operating Requirements

Failure to comply with these operating requirements will result in revocation of the Incidental Business Permit for a minimum period of one year. Violation of park regulations may result in the issuance of a Federal Violation Notice.

Reporting Requirements

Permittee is required to prepare and submit an Annual Report. This report must be submitted to the Superintendent, Isle Royale National Park, and must be received not later than November 30 each year. All information requested by the Superintendent must be provided, including Gross Annual Receipts.

Last updated: August 23, 2018

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Mailing Address:

800 East Lakeshore Drive
Houghton, MI 49931

Phone:

(906) 482-0984

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