Commercial Use Authorizations


Commercial Use Authorizations (CUA) are issued for all appropriate commercial services conducted by a private person, corporation, or other private entity. Non-profit and educational institutions may also require a permit under this category, depending on the type of service offered. If you'd like to operate a business here, it's likely that you'll need a commercial use authorization. These authorizations establish guidelines for protection of park landscapes and resources.

Please contact the CUA Administrator at (906)487-7174 or by email with any CUA related questions, including how to navigate the application process.

The CUA application period is January 2nd through May 15th, annually. CUA applications received outside of this timeframe will not be considered for approval.

Changes to the CUA Program for 2021

Effective January 2nd, 2021, the following changes will be implemented:
  • CUA's can now be issued for up to two years for ONLY returning operators who are in good standing with the park.
    • A "returning operator", is defined as someone who has operated under a similar CUA within the last 5 years at Isle Royale National Park.
    • The 2-year CUA Application Fee is $600.
  • One-year CUA application fees have increased to $500.
    • New operators or newly approved service types MUST hold a 1-year CUA first, in order to qualify for a 2-year CUA in subsequent years.
  • As part of a CUA application package, applicants must submit proof of all requirements listed in Attachment B of the CUA Application Form (10-550).
  • CUA application fees must be paid by either including a check with a mailed-in application package or by having a credit card processed over the phone by the CUA Administrator at (906)487-7174. Payment must be made prior to applications being processed and all application fees are non-refundable once applications are processed.

CUA Application Packages Must Include the Following:

1. Completely filled out with attachments: Application Form 10-550.
2. Photocopies of current licenses, certifications, and/or other service type specific requirements indicated on Application Form 10-550.
3. Certificate of adequate insurance in an Acord Form format, with "The United States of America" indicated as additionally insured.
4. Submission of a COVID19 Safety Plan.
5. CUA operators may choose to use a Visitor Acknowledgement of Risk Form. If so, it must be submitted for review as well. Waivers of liability are not permitted.
6. Payment of a non-refundable application fee: $500 for a 1-year CUA or $600 for a 2-year CUA.

Application packages can be sent to:

Mailed items may be sent to:

Isle Royale National Park
Attn: CUA Administrator
800 E Lakeshore Drive
Houghton, MI 49931

Applications will be returned to the applicant if submitted incomplete.
Instructions are included on the application form but if you have additional questions, please e-mail us.

Annual Reporting

A CUA Annual Report (10-660) must be submitted at the end of each operating season, but no later than January 1st.

Management Fees

Management fees are factored into application fees unless gross receipts indicated on a CUA holder's annual report are greater than $25,000. If so, than management fees are determined using Market Price Method and are billed to the CUA holder annually. Application fees are deducted from the amount owed when this method is used.

CUA Conditions

The National Park Service has terms and conditions on all commercial service agreements.The standard and park specific permit conditions are located on pages 4-7 of the application form. Isle Royale National Park has additional park specific operating conditions attached to an issued CUA for each specific activity i.e.: guided photography or guided backpacking/hiking, etc. For a copy of these activity specific conditions prior to applying, please contact the CUA Administrator.

Laws, Regulations, and Policies

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."

Operating a commercial activity in the park without a CUA permit will result in the issuance of a legal warning, federal citation, or a mandatory federal court appearance.
E-mail CUA application packages to:

Last updated: May 17, 2021

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

800 East Lakeshore Drive
Houghton, MI 49931


(906) 482-0984

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