Commercial Use Authorization Stipulations

2018 Park Specific Stipulations - Kenai Fjords National Park

P.O. Box 1727 - Seward, AK 99664 - 907-422-0500 phone

The following specific provisions (in addition to the National and Regional Conditions of the Authorization), are applicable to those commercial activities and areas authorized through a Commercial Use Authorization (CUA). Certain approved activities carry activity specific stipulations in addition to these general stipulations. It is the responsibility of the operator to be familiar with and comply with all stipulations applicable to their permitted activity.

  1. Kenai Fjords permits the following commercial activities:

  • Air Taxi

  • Charter Boat (includes motorized boat tours and marine water taxis)

  • Guided Backpacking

  • Guided Bicycle Tours (on roadways only)

  • Guided Hiking (includes walking tours of the Exit Glacier Area)

  • Guided Kayaking

  • Guided Mountaineering (includes glacial travel, ice climbing, ice hiking and any activity requiring technical equipment for ascending or descending slopes)

  • Guided Paddleboarding

  • Guided Photography (this category applies to trips organized or sold specifically for photography, generally led by a professional photographer. It is understood that incidental photography occurs during all commercial activities)

  • Guided Winter Backcountry Trips (Dog Sledding, Skiing, Snowshoeing)

  • Snowcoach Tours (on roadways only)

  • Taxi / Shuttle Bus service – No CUA required**
    **36 CFR 13.1316: Commercial Transport of passengers by motor vehicles on Exit Glacier Road is allowed without a written permit. However, if required to protect public health and safety or park resources, or to provide for the equitable use of park facilities, the Superintendent may establish a permit requirement with appropriate terms and conditions for the transport of passengers. Failure to comply with permit terms and conditions is prohibited.

  1. Use of snow machines for commercial activities is prohibited without the express written authorization of the Superintendent.

  2. Group Size Limits

a) All backcountry trips (this includes the Harding Icefield Trail, Harding Icefield, and all coastal areas of the park) are limited to a maximum group size of 14 people, including guides and assistants.

b) Commercial groups larger than 14 should arrange to split up and arrange drop-offs and pick-ups by air or water taxi in such a manner as to prevent more than 14 people on any one beach or other discrete location at one time, except in exigent circumstances or at the following locations:

Main kayak drop off beach, Northwestern Fjord
Beach adjacent to the Holgate Public Use Cabin
Any other location approved by the Superintendent in advance and in writing

c) If more than 14 people are dropped together by air or water taxi, they must make all reasonable efforts to immediately separate into two or more groups no larger than 14 people each and must set up camp at a minimum of 500 feet from each other.

d) If more than 14 people are picked up together by air or water taxi, they must make all reasonable efforts to minimize the time that combined groups are together at the pickup location, while still allowing adequate time to meet transportation provider schedule, break down equipment, etc.

  1. Nightly Stay Limits in Heavily Used Areas (Revised 03/16/2013)

a) In Aialik Bay, Harris Bay and Northwestern Lagoon, commercial groups may not spend more than 2 nights at any location in order to protect opportunities for other groups to use the campsites and food lockers. This requirement does not apply if weather and sea conditions make travel dangerous or in the event of exigent circumstances (e.g. illness of trip member or damage to camping or kayak equipment which makes travel unsafe).

b) All clients, permittees, guides and other employees must vacate the site and all supplies and equipment must be removed from the campsite / food locker for at least 24 hours to satisfy the requirement of 4 (a) above.

c) Overnight stays at the Pederson Lagoon Easement site and all other coastal easements are limited to one night only, pursuant to the easement site regulations. Easements are marked by signs and are found on commonly used Trails Illustrated maps of the park. Further location information available upon request.

  1. Food Storage - Designated Areas and Methods
    a) Definition: A bear resistant container (BRC) means an item constructed to prevent access by a bear. BRC’s include-

Items approved by the Department of Interior and Agriculture’s Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee http://www.igbconline.org/html/container.html
Park provided metal food lockers at some coastal campsites; and
Any additional items approved in writing by the Superintendent.

b) Food, food containers, garbage and harvested fish must be stored in a BRC or secured-

Within a hard sided building;
Within lockable and hard sided section of a vehicle, vessel, or aircraft; or
By suspending at least 10 feet above the ground and 4 feet horizontally from a post, tree trunk, or other object on a wire or branch which will not support a bear’s weight.

c) At the Exit Glacier Campground all food preparation, cooking and eating must be done in the campground cooking shelter. No food items shall be taken to, consumed, or stored at the individual campsites.

d) This regulation does not apply-

On the Harding Icefield when surrounded by snow or ice for at least 1 mile in all directions, unless directed to do otherwise by park staff due to recent bear or other wildlife activity;
To food that is being transported, consumed or prepared for consumption; and
To clean dishes and cooking equipment which are free of food odors.

  1. Human Waste

All solid human waste from participants of activities authorized under this CUA will be managed in accordance with current NPS Regulations found in Title 36 of the Code of Federal Regulations and in Superintendent’s Compendium:

a) Within the Exit Glacier area and all other areas of the park, including the coast and within one mile of the edge of the Harding Icefield, all human waste and toilet paper must be carried out in a container such as Reststop II or Cleanwaste which is approved for disposal in a landfill.

b) On the Harding Icefield more than one mile from the edge of the icefield, solid human waste and toilet paper must be deposited in biodegradable bags and deposited in a crevasse at least one mile from the edge of the icefield or packed out in a container such as Reststop II or Cleanwaste which is approved for disposal in a landfill.

c) All other glaciated areas of the park – Human waste must be deposited in a deep crevasse or carried out in a Restop II, Cleanwaste, or similar container and disposed of in a landfill. Tissue paper and sanitary items must be packed out or burned when fire hazard is low.

d) Coastal Public Use cabins and beaches – Restop II, Cleanwaste, or similar containers must be used and carried out for disposal in a landfill.

  1. Groups traveling in the coastal backcountry must carry at least one VHF radio capable of sending and receiving on Marine channel 16.
  2. Groups shall not enter any adit or other mine opening on coastal mining claims either active or inactive.
  3. Permitees are responsible for knowing the location of private holdings, native corporation lands, and public use easements along the coast of the park, and abiding by all applicable laws relating to same. In particular, guides should note that the Port Graham Corporation requires a use permit for entry upon their lands for any period of time and any purpose. Use of that land without permit constitutes trespass.
  4. All equipment and supplies, including but not limited to tents, tarps, tools, fuel, food, kayaks, rafts, canoes, and garbage must be removed from each campsite upon departure. Departure will be defined as leaving the site with the intent of not occupying the site overnight within the next 24 hours.
  5. Garbage may not be burned or buried. It must be removed from the park at the end of each trip. (Revised 03/16/2013)
  6. Temporary storage or "caching" of equipment or supplies must be approved in advance and in writing by the Superintendent. This includes leaving food or other materials in a park provided Bear Resistant Container (i.e., bear box) unattended for one or more nights.
  7. Archeological and historic resources are protected by federal law. In the event that the permittee, their employees, or their clients encounter materials thought to be associated with a cultural site, the site location shall be recorded and the park Cultural Resource Manager, 907-422-0541, or Chief of Resources 907-422-0546, shall be notified.
  8. Exit Glacier and Harding Icefield

a) Commercial groups camping within the Exit Glacier area must either use public toilets or pack out all solid human wastes and toilet paper in an approved container such as the Restop II or Cleanwaste Bag which is approved for disposal in a landfill.

b) Groups camping at the Exit Glacier Campground may not occupy more than 4 sites per night. Sites are limited to 2 tents per site and 6 people per site.

c) Any permittee accessing Exit Glacier from the Harding Icefield trail must use an access route which shall be identified by Kenai Fjords National Park. Each permittee must schedule a preseason field meeting with Park Staff to confirm the access to Exit Glacier and strategies to minimize their impacts on vegetation while accessing Exit Glacier. Permittee must notify Park Staff when snow conditions necessitate changes in access. Any deviation from the designated access route must be approved by the KEFJ Chief Ranger prior to use. The contact numbers for scheduling the preseason meeting are (907) 422-0500.

e) Any permittee conducting guided ice hiking on Exit Glacier will permit Kenai Fjords staff to accompany the group for monitoring purposes upon the request by Kenai Fjords National Park. Any accompanying NPS staff members will not be included in the 14 person group size limit for permitted activities.

f) All members of commercial groups on the Harding Icefield Trail must stay on the established trail in the alpine tundra zone. Shortcutting of switchbacks is prohibited.

g) Campfires are prohibited in the Exit Glacier area except in a steel fire ring provided at the developed campground and in the picnic area. Along the coast, fires shall be built in the intertidal zone whenever possible. Fire rings of stones or other materials must be dismantled before leaving the site. Ashes must be dispersed, preferably in the ocean. Any burnt food or garbage must be packed out of the park as garbage. A fire pan is strongly encouraged to facilitate this process.

  1. Neither permittees nor their employees shall rent or reserve a Public Use Cabin for commercial purposes. Permittees and/or employees shall not act as agents or representatives for clients renting or reserving Public Use Cabins.
  2. Commercial groups shall not utilize Public Use Cabins, porches, decks or associated toilets, unless a member of the group has rented the cabin and has a valid Special Use Permit for same. No individual or group shall camp within 500 feet of a Public Use Cabin.
  3. Bicycles are not permitted for commercial purposes except on the Exit Glacier Road, campground parking lot and in the main parking area.
  4. Permittees shall, upon request, provide names and current addresses of all current owners, employees, agents, and / or representatives of the company.
  5. Commercial groups in motorized or non-motorized vessels inside the boundaries of Kenai Fjords National Park are required to adhere to Marine Mammal Viewing Guidelines, published by the National Marine Fisheries Service, as a condition of this permit. The current guidelines are summarized as follows:

a) Remain at least 100 yards (length of a football field) from whales, dolphins, porpoises, and from seals and sea lions that are on land, rock, or ice.
b) Use extra caution when viewing seals and sea lions that are on land, 100 yards may not be sufficient distance to prevent harassment.
c) If a whale approaches within 100 yards of your vessel, put your engine in neutral and allow the whale to pass.
d) Offering food, discarding fish, fish waste, or any other food item to a marine mammal is prohibited.
e) Handling pups, touching, or swimming with the animals is prohibited.
f) If you need to move around a whale, do it from behind the whale.

g) Vessels that wish to position themselves to allow whales to pass the vessel should do so in a manner that stays fully clear of the whale's path. Whales may surface in unpredictable locations.
h) Breaching and flipper slapping whales may endanger people and/or vessels. Feeding humpback whales often emit sub- surface bubbles before rising to feed at the surface. Stay clear of these light green bubble patches.
i) Emitting periodic noise may help whales know your location and avoid whale and boat collisions. For example, if your engine is not running, occasionally tap the side of the boat with a hard object.
j) Whales, dolphins, and porpoises are more likely to be disturbed when more than one boat is near them. Avoid approaching the animals when another vessel is near. Do not encircle the animals or trap them between the shore or another boat and your boat.
k) Always leave whales, dolphins, and porpoises an "escape route."
l) When several vessels are in an area, communication between vessel operators will ensure that you do not cause disturbance.
m) Limit your time with any individual or group of marine mammals to less than one half hour.
n) Your vessel may not be the only vessel in the day that approaches the same animal(s), please be aware that cumulative impact may also occur.
o) Vessels traveling in a predictable manner appear to be less disturbing to animals. The departure from a viewing area has as much potential to disturb animals as the approach.
p) Pursuit of marine mammals is prohibited by law.
q) Never attempt to herd, chase, or separate groups of marine mammals or females from their young. (Revised 03/16/2013)
r) Avoid excessive speed or sudden changes in speed or direction in the vicinity of whales.
s) Assume that your action is a disturbance and cautiously leave the vicinity if you observe any of the following behaviors:

Aggressive behavior by many animals towards the disturbance; or movement by many away from the disturbance
Herd movement towards the water
Hurried entry into the water by many animals
Increased interactions with other animals
Increased vocalizations
Several individuals raising their heads simultaneously

  1. Annual Reporting Requirements

a) The Activity Report is due on or before November 15th for all CUA holders regardless of if you operated in the park. If you did not operate submit the report stating “Did Not Operate”.
b) Any CUA holder conducting guided ice hiking or climbing on Exit Glacier or guided hiking on the Harding Icefield Trail must record their activity on the Exit Glacier/Harding Icefield Day Use Summary form. The report must include daily use for each month, including number of guides, number of clients, the name of the guide(s), and comments/observations. The report must be turned in to the Park by September 15th.
c) The Annual Report form 10‐660, required for all operators, is due by November 15th.
d) End of season reports are available on the Alaska Region Commercial Services website: https://www.nps.gov/locations/alaska/activity-reporting.htm.
e) Reports must be submitted electronically to akr_activityreports@nps.gov.

Last updated: June 26, 2018