Learn and Explore
Visitor services, such as the guiding service pictured above, are provided by commercial businesses that work within the parks. If you are interested in or currently providing commercial visitor services in Alaska's National Parks, follow the links below for more information. If you are interested in visiting the parks, please see the individual park websites or reference the Directory of Commercial Visitor Services Providers for a list of current Commercial Use Authorization (CUA) and concessions contract holders.
Learn and Explore
Approximately 400-425 companies annually provide a wide variety of commercial visitor services for visitors to Alaska’s 16 national park areas. The number of companies and volume of business activity varies by year but the trend is towards a modest increase, as tourism in Alaska expands. The National Park Service authorizes commercial visitor services under concession contracts and Commercial Use Authorizations. There are many distinctions between these two types of authorizations, but generally the NPS issues concession contracts when there is a need to limit the number of operators or construct facilities in park areas and a competitive system is employed to solicit proposals from private businesses. Commercial Use Authorizations are generally used when a service is appropriate for the park area, but there is no need to limit the number of service providers or construct facilities in park areas and therefore no need to employ a competitive system to award the authorization. Of the 400-425 companies mentioned above, approximately 100 are authorized under concession contracts and the remainder are authorized under Commercial Use Authorizations. Generally, engaging in or soliciting any business in a national park requires a contract or other written authorization from the NPS. See below for additional information and authorizations.
A Commercial Use Authorization authorizes suitable commercial services to park area visitors in limited circumstances. The term of a CUA may not exceed 2 years and no preferential right of renewal or similar provisions for renewal may be provided.
Concession contracts are awarded through a competitive process. After determining that a visitor service is necessary, appropriate, and feasible as a business opportunity, the National Park Service prepares a prospectus which outlines the requirements for operating the business. Interested businesses apply by submitting written proposals that respond to established criteria.
Leases Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park & Wrangell St.-Elias National Park & Preserve
The NPS may also grant leases for the use of federally owned or administered buildings and associated property within park areas. Generally, the NPS leases only buildings and associated property that are not needed for use by the NPS. Currently, the only leased buildings and associated property in Alaska national parks are located in Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park and Wrangell St. Elias National Park & Preserve.
Last updated: July 13, 2018