Commercial Use Authorization


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.

CUAs may be issued to persons (referring to individuals, corporations and other entities) to provide commercial service to park area visitors in limited circumstances. CUAs are not concession contracts. They are intended to provide a simple means to authorize suitable commercial services to visitors in park areas in the limited circumstances in the legislation.

North Cascades National Park 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.

CUAs are mandatory for conducting commercial trips into North Cascades National Park Complex; however, their issuance is a courtesy, not an entitlement. Requests for CUAs are handled in the order received, considering other workload commitments. Four or more weeks should be allowed for this process. Commercial services are not authorized until the CUA is finalized. Prospective permittees should not schedule any commercial trips to the park prior to obtaining a fully executed copy of the CUA. Failure to obtain and have available for inspection a CUA to provide commercial services into North Cascades National Park Complex may subject the commercial operator to penalties as prescribed by law or regulation, including exclusion from the park.

At this time, educational groups do not need a Special Use Permit to conduct activities unless they are providing guided services that are non-curriculum based. Curriculum based activities do not need a permit.


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):

Application Package for First-Time Applicants and Renewals for Expired Permits

Year-Two Requirements for Current Permits

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 (preferred method of payment), or by check. has credit card, debit and other EFT payment options. Payments made by money order or checks should be made payable to "National Park Service".


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: January 9, 2018

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Sedro-Woolley, WA 98284


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