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.

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 https://federalregister.gov/a/2014-23533.

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) CUAs for Guided Charter Boat/Guided Sportfishing and Guided Kayaking in Glacier Bay are only issued for one-year; all other commercial activities in Glacier Bay may be permitted for one or two-years.
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

2019-20 Application Forms Coming Soon!
Please e-mail if you need copies before our 508 compliance work is complete. Thank you.

  • CUA Application Instructions (Read First) The instructions include the following content areas: Approved Activities, Commercial Group Size Limits, Fee Schedules, Payment Instructions, and Insurance Requirements.
  • Stipulations for Operating Under a CUA - National, Regional, and Park-specific conditions for operating under a CUA
  • Commercial Use Authorization Application (PDF Form)
    • Kenai Fjords Mountaineering Supplement - Additional application information required for Guided Mountaineering in Kenai Fjords National Park
  • CUA Amendment Form - Application to add a new park unit or activity to an existing CUA

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: August 3, 2018