Commercial Use Authorizations
Why do we issue a Commercial Use Authorizations?
Any commercial service provided in a National Park area is required by 36 CFR §5.3
Business Operations, to have an authorization or permit.
36 CFR §5.3 Engaging in or soliciting any business in park areas, except in accordance with the provisions of a permit, contract, or other written agreement with the United States, except as such may be specifically authorized under special regulations applicable to a park area, is prohibited.
CUAs provide a service or activity to our visitors in a manner consistent to the highest practicable degree with the mission of the National Park Service, including the preservation and conservation of park resources and values, and an enjoyable visitor experience. The activities or services provided include not only canoe and tube liveries, but guided canoe trips, and guided fishing and/or hunting trips on the river. A private person or group does not need a CUA when they are using their own equipment, such as children's camps, outdoor clubs, and non-profit institutions.
Are there restrictions on what type of businesses can be issued CUAs?
Yes, Commercial Use Authorizations may only be issued to authorize services that:
What are the requirements of a Commercial Use Authorization and do they apply to all CUAs regardless of the type of activity?
- Are determined to be an appropriate use of the Niobrara National Scenic River, such as: fishing and/or hunting guides, river trip guides, or canoe/raft/tube liveries.
- Will have minimal impact on park resources and values, and on private land owners;
- Are consistent with the purpose for which the Niobrara National Scenic River was established, as defined in the General Management Plan, Foundation Document, and draft River Management Plan.
Does the CUA authorize activities on land or just on the river?
- All CUA holders are required to carry Commercial General Liability insurance in the amount of $1,000,000. The insurance must name the United States of America as additionally insured.
- All CUAs must comply with all State and/or local laws and regulations, including any permits or licenses necessary to conduct business activity with the State of Nebraska.
- All CUA holders are required to report revenue and visitation statistics annually to the NPS.
- Other conditions may vary according to the type of commercial activity or service they provide. They are clearly defined in the application process. Some examples are:
- Boating activities require that visitors be issued a US Coast Guard approved personal flotation device/life jacket properly sized for each visitor;
- All CUA holders are required to provide a river safety orientation to all visitors before starting;
- All CUA holders must inform client that most all the land on both sides of the river is private property and trespass laws will be enforced;
- All CUAs encourage an environmental awareness by informing their clients that recycling and litter bags should be tied onto vessels (tubes, canoes, kayaks, etc.), and glass and Styrofoam containers are discouraged.
The CUA is issued to authorize activities only on the river, to the ordinary high water mark along the Niobrara River within the Niobrara National Scenic River from the Fort Niobrara National Wildlife Refuge boundary downstream to Hwy 137. Permits are already required on the river within the Ft. Niobrara NWR boundaries.