Please note, as of January 1, 2020, there will be CUA rate changes. Email for additional information.
COMMERCIAL USE AUTHORIZATIONS (CUA)
A COMMERCIAL USE IS DEFINED as any or all goods, activities, services, agreements, or anything offered to park visitors and/or the general public for recreational purposes which uses park resources or is undertaken for or results in compensation, monetary gain, benefit, or profit to an individual, organization, or corporation, whether or not such entity is organized for purposes recognized as non-profit under Local, State, or Federal law.
North Cascades National Park Service Service Complex currently issues CUAs for a variety of services, including but not limited to: guided hiking, backpacking, climbing, mountaineering, horse packing or fishing, commercial air transportation; environmental education; boat rentals and boat tours. Additional activities may be permitted pending request, review and approval by the park.
GUIDED SERVICES - Guided trips or services which collect a fee in excess of the actual personal costs of the trip and/or for payment of other than actual personal trip expenses for guides or leaders, are considered commercial trips. This includes non-profit organizations providing a livelihood for people through provision of these services.
Commercial Bus Tours
Effective October 1, 2019, a Commercial Use Authorization is required for all road-based commercial tours traveling through North Cascades National Park Service Complex on Washington State Route 20.
All commercial service providers that do not operate under an NPS concessions contract must have a valid CUA to legally operate in a national park. After September 30, 2019, road-based commercial tour operators must submit a CUA application fo reach park in which they wish to operate.
Who Needs to Apply?
The responsibility for obtaining a road-based commercial tour CUA falls on the company that packaged, priced, and sold the tour.
What Are the Fees for a Commercial Bus Tour Permit?
Application fee: Road-based commercial tour operators will pay an annual $300 non-refundable CUA application fee for each CUA application.
Administrative and Management Fee: North Cascades National Park Service Complex does not charge an entrance fee for visitors traveling into the park; however, road-based commercial tour CUA holders must pay a $5 per client CUA management fee due upon submission of the required annual CUA report which is due at the conclusion of the season. The Permittee may also pay this fee in advance of their trip is the number of passengers has been determined for each trip through the park.
Educational Fees Waivers
Fee Waivers may be issued to non-profit entities who meet the established requirements. This applies ONLY to Educational and Scientific groups who conduct guided services within the Park. The National Park Service does not have the authority to waive permit fees under a CUA, so in the event that the waiver is approved, the permittee will be issued a Special Use Permit to conduct their services within the park. The Conditions of the Special Use Permit will be similar to those conditions outlined in CUA form issued to “for-profit” CUA holders. Fee waivers apply only to specific cost recovery fees (administrative and monitoring fees). Applicants would still be responsible for application fees, and other park complex fees (i.e. backcountry reservation fees).
CUAs are issued for a term of up to two years, but specific information is required prior to the start of the second year of operation in order for the permit to remain effective.
Application materials are available by clicking on the following links (non-profit entities that provide guided services within the park should complete the CUA application package):
Although the park does not currently have an application deadline for Commercial Use Authorization Applications, your application must be submitted a minimum of 30 days prior to the initial scheduled trip or activity, to allow park staff to review application materials and process the permit. Submitting a complete packet greatly aids staff in issuing your authorization in a timely manner.
Payment can be made online at pay.gov (preferred method of payment), or by check. Pay.gov has credit card, debit and other EFT payment options. Payments made by money order or checks should be made payable to "National Park Service".
COMMERCIAL BACKCOUNTRY RESERVATION PROCESS
A CUA or SUP is required before entering the backcountry of the park complex, obtaining a backcountry permit, or applying for a commercial backcountry permit reservation. Backcountry permits are required for all overnight trips in the park complex and must be obtained at a ranger station by the trip leader prior to entering the backcountry. Optional commercial backcountry reservations for permits are also available. To apply for a reservation, please refer to the CUA / SUP Backcountry Permit Reservation Guide for information and instructions. Commercial reservations are accepted beginning February 1, via mail or online.
Last updated: November 7, 2019