Commercial Use Authorizations

Woman kayaking through icy Alaskan waters
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.

Beginning in the 2023 operating and reporting season, Katmai National Park and Preserve is increasing the Commercial Use Authorization (CUA) Monitoring Fees to better reflect the true cost of administering our commercial services program, as required by law. The increase will impact the Monitoring Fees for those commercial activities that take place in the Brooks Camp Developed Area (BCDA) portion of Katmai National Park as well as the Monitoring Fees for all other areas of Katmai National Park and Preserve (KATM), Alagnak Wild River (ALAG), and Aniakchak National Monument and Preserve (ANIA). The BCDA is defined as a 1.5-mile radius from the Brooks Falls Platform. A map of the area that is defined as the BCDA can be found at www.nps.gov/katm/planyourvisit/campingbcdv.htm.

Public Law 105-391 and NPS policy require the Superintendent to charge a reasonable fee “to recover associated management and administrative costs” for CUAs and review the fee every two years. The fees allow the park to recover the actual costs incurred in support of the CUA program, monitoring, clean up, and restoration to resources following the CUA activities. These funds can also be utilized for the day-to-day monitoring that occurs to enforce park regulations and for any equipment and materials needed for the management of the CUA program.

This is the park's first increase to its Monitoring Fees since 2003 and will bring fees in line with the current staffing and material costs that support the commercial services program. The increases to Monitoring Fees will be phased in over two years with the first increases to go into effect for the 2023 operating and reporting season. Following the implementation of the new fee structure, Monitoring Fees will be reviewed every other year to remain in compliance with law and policy.

Monitoring Fees are calculated using a per person, per day methodology. CUA staff included within the group are excluded when calculating Monitoring Fees. If the same client visits both the BCDA and any other locations within KATM on the same day with the same CUA holder, only the BCDA Monitoring Fee will be collected. Monitoring Fees are due no later than November 15th for the reporting year. Below is the phased fee structure that will be implemented:

CUA Monitoring Fee Brooks Camp Developed Area
(within KATM)
All Other Areas of KATM,
ALAG, and ANIA
2022 Reporting Season $14.00 $6.00
2023 Reporting Season $23.00 $10.00
2024 Reporting Season $30.00 $15.00

We recognize the strong partnership the park has with its commercial operators and look forward to building on that strength as visitation increases to ensure park resources and visitor safety are protected. Questions about the CUA program or this fee change should be directed to Commercial Services Program Manager, Alex Maki, at e-mail us or 907-644-3362.
In 2022, Wrangell-St. Elias National Park & Preserve (WRST) made changes to the Commercial Use Authorization (CUA) program. While WRST has several approved commercial services https://www.nps.gov/locations/alaska/services.htm currently authorized via CUA, the park has added two new activities, Visitor Experience and Shuttle Service, which include visitor services not currently covered by other approved commercial activities.

Visitor Experience is defined as the road-based transportation of passengers and commercial group use of visitor services including comfort stations; trails; film showings; ranger programs; and exhibits. The activity includes guided and unguided visitor experiences. Beginning in 2022, commercial groups of two or more must have a valid CUA to provide those services in WRST, as required by Title 36, Section 5.3 of the Code of Federal Regulations.

Shuttle Service is defined as point-to-point ground transportation only: passengers are dropped off or picked up in specified areas and no guiding occurs. Beginning in 2022, irrespective of the fee amount charged to passengers, business operations must have a valid CUA to provide these services in WRST, as required by Title 36, Section 5.3 of the Code of Federal Regulations (36 CFR 5.3). This CUA requirement applies to commercial Shuttle Service providers that drop off or pick up passengers in the shuttle turnaround in the Kennicott Subdivision, as the turnaround is located on National Park Service (NPS) land and is therefore subject to 36 CFR 5.3. The turnaround is also located outside the subdivision right-of-way platted in the Second Amendment to the Mill Site Unit of the Kennicott Subdivision (Plat 77-12, records of the Chitina Recording District).

The National Park Service greatly appreciates the valuable service that providers of shuttle transportation to Kennicott offer to both Park visitors and to NPS. We also recognize that the CUA requirement for this service was not instituted in the past; please be assured that the goal of implementing it now is not to assert greater control in Kennicott, but to improve traffic safety for residents and visitors alike, and to comply with our own regulations.

Visitor Experience and Shuttle Service applicants may apply for a one- or two-year CUA.

To apply for a Visitor Experience or Shuttle Service CUA
  • Download and fill out the 2023 - 2024 CUA Application (fillable PDF) below.
  • Submit a complete application package, as outlined in the application instructions, to akro_cua_admin@nps.gov before April 30, 2023. CUA applications received after the deadline may not be accepted.

  • Please review the insurance requirements section of the application package. Operators providing the Visitor Experience activity, as defined above, must have commercial auto insurance, and may need commercial general liability insurance if accompanying visitors on lands administered by the National Park Service. Operators providing the Shuttle Service activity, as defined above, must have commercial auto insurance.
Thank you for your involvement in our program and for providing our visitors with meaningful experiences in the park. If you have questions or would like additional information, please contact Jan Maslen at 907-822-7206 or jan_maslen@nps.gov.

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 Interior Region 11 - Alaska with the exception of Denali, Glacier Bay, Lake Clark, 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) In 2023, CUAs at Crescent Lake in Lake Clark will only be issued for one-year; all other commercial activities in Lake Clark 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 - Commercial Use Authorizations are subject to permit conditions/stipulations. Review the National, Regional, and Park-specific conditions for operating under a CUA.
  • Commercial Use Authorization Application (Fillable PDF Form)
    • 2023 - 2024 CUA Application
    • The application includes the following content areas: application instructions, approved activities, commercial group size limits, fee schedules, payment instructions, insurance requirements, and park-specific supplemental requirements.
    • Submit completed CUA applications with all supporting documentation to akro_cua_admin@nps.gov

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: October 26, 2022