Commercial Use Authorizations

A kayaker paddles through ice in front of a glacier.
A kayaker maintains a safe distance while navigating the icy waters in front of Bear Glacier in Kenai Fjords National Park. NPS Photo/Fiona Ritter-Davis
Section 418 of the National Parks Omnibus Management Act of 1998, Public Law 105-391, authorizes the National Park Service to issue Commercial Use Authorizations (CUAs) to persons (referring to individuals, corporations, and other entities) to provide commercial services to park area visitors in limited circumstances. CUAs provide a means to authorize suitable commercial services to visitors in park areas. The CUA is used to provide for incidental use of park area resources by operators who provide commercial services originating and terminating outside of the park area (Out-of-Park-Services). The term of a CUA may not exceed two years and no preferential right of renewal or similar provisions for renewal may be provided.

Dear Commercial Use Authorization (CUA) Permittee:

Partner organizations, concessioners, commercial use authorization holders, and other service providers are fundamental to our efforts to provide our visitors a full national park experience.

A partial shutdown of the Federal Government began on Saturday, December 22, 2018. The National Park Service shutdown contingency plan has been and may be found at
The contingency plan describes how the NPS will close all national, regional and support offices to non-excepted employees and the public. Park staff will secure national park facilities, and suspend operations, except those needed to protect life and property. These closures will be accompanied by the furlough of a majority of NPS employees. A small percentage of employees will not be furloughed, in order to ensure the protection of life and property. To the extent feasible, park roads, lookouts, trails, open air memorials and other similarly open park areas will remain accessible to visitors. Parks will close all areas with sensitive natural, cultural, historic or archaeological resources vulnerable to destruction, looting or other damage that cannot be adequately protected by the excepted staff that remain on duty to conduct essential activities.
For most parks, there will be no National Park Service-provided visitor services, such as restrooms, trash collection, facilities, or road maintenance. CUA permittees should be aware that while some parks remain accessible, access may change without notice.
If a CUA permittee chooses to continue their activities in areas that do not require access to a closed NPS facility or area, the permittee acknowledges that:

The CUA permittee will comply with all terms and conditions of its CUA.
The CUA permittee’s existing CUA requires it to indemnify NPS and the United States for any liabilities that may be incurred as a result of its operations during the government shutdown.
NPS-provided visitor services will be unavailable, and emergency and rescue services will be limited.

Most commercial services staff in the Alaska Region will be furloughed during the shutdown. In the event that you operate in the park during a Government Shutdown, communicate the itinerary with the Alaska Regional Communication Center (ARCC), 907-683-9555. In the event an injury or incident occurs on park land while operating during a Government Shutdown, communicate the details of the event to the ARCC as soon as feasible.
Attention: CUA Program changes at Glacier Bay National Park & Preserve take effect November 1, 2018. (See Glacier Bay 2018 CUA update for details).
Notice of change of terms to all current Commercial Use Authorizations issued before June 18, 2018:

National Condition #14 shall read as follows:
14. Minimum Wage: The holder is required to adhere to Executive Order 13658 – Establishing a Minimum Wage for Contractors. The implementing regulations, including the applicable authorization clause, are incorporated by reference into this contract as if fully set forth in this contract and available at

Exemption: Under Executive Order 13838, Executive Order 13658 shall not apply to contracts or contract-like instruments entered into with the Federal Government in connection with seasonal recreational services or seasonal recreational equipment rental for the general public on Federal lands, but this exemption shall not apply to lodging and food services associated with seasonal recreational services. Seasonal recreational services include river running, hunting, fishing, horseback riding, camping, mountaineering activities, recreational ski services, and youth camps.
Attention: Sitka National Historical Park implemented a new reporting deadline and management fee structure in the fall of 2017. (See Sitka 2017 CUA Update for details).

Application Period - November 1st through April 30th

Attention: The National Park Service, Alaska Region has established a specific time period for submitting applications for Commercial Use Authorizations (See NPS Memo for details).

A fully completed application package including fee payment, and other required documentation must be received or postmarked by the April 30th deadline. Applications received or postmarked after April 30th and will not be accepted. Rare exceptions may be made if there are extenuating circumstances involved or if the application is to provide an approved service not currently offered by other commercial operators. Any request for a waiver based upon extenuating circumstances must be submitted in writing and approved by the park Superintendent(s).

You may apply for either a one- or two-year CUA for all park units in the Alaska Region with the exception of Denali, Glacier Bay, Kenai Fjords, and Wrangell-St.Elias.
a) CUA applications for Denali must be submitted directly to Denali beginning November 1, 2017. More information and application materials are available on the Denali CUA Website.
b) CUA applications for Glacier Bay must be submitted directly to Glacier Bay beginning November 1, 2018. More information and application materials are available on the Glacier Bay CUA Website.
c) CUAs for Guided Mountaineering in Kenai Fjords are only issued for one-year; all other commercial activities in Kenai Fjords may be permitted for one or two-years.
d) Air Taxi CUAs in Wrangell-St.Elias are only issued for one-year; all other commercial activities in Wrangell may be permitted for one or two-years.

Application Forms, Instructions & Resources

  • Stipulations for Operating Under a CUA - National, Regional, and Park-specific conditions for operating under a CUA
  • Commercial Use Authorization Application (Fillable PDF Form)
    • Application for the 2019 - 2020 operating years. The application document includes the following content areas: application instructions, approved activities, commercial group size limits, fee schedules, payment instructions, insurance requirements, and park-specific supplemental requirements.
    • Sumbit completed CUA Applications with all supporting documentation to

CUA Reporting Forms

Laws, Regulations, Policies

Doing Business with the Parks

Please visit the individual park websites below for more information about operating in the National Parks.

Last updated: December 26, 2018