Please note, as of January 1, 2020, there will be CUA rate changes. Email for additional information.
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 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
North Cascades National Park Service Complex does not have a standardized permit system in place for Road-Based Commercial Tours; however, all operators who provide commercial transportation and tour services within and through the park are required to obtain a standard CUA for their operations. This includes operators/individuals who provide commercial services (for hire, rent or for sale) of bus/van/car tours, chartered services and drop-off/pick up services at trailheads or to other visitor locations within park boundaries.To Apply, contact the Commercial Services Office.
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).
Application Process and Timelines
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.
A required, non-refundable $100 application fee is due at the time the application is submitted. Additionally, if your permit is approved, Market Price Management Fees will apply. The Market Price Fee is based on the percentage of gross receipts reported on the mandatory Annual Report Form (OMB 10-660) for business conducted in North Cascades National Park Service Complex.
The fee structure is 3% of gross receipts for revenue generated over $250,000; 4% of gross receipts for revenue generated between $250,000 and $500,000, and 5% of gross receipts for revenue generated over $500,000. The application fee is credited back for income generated over the 3% threshold. If gross receipts are less than $3,334, the only fee due is the initial application fee.
Fees are paid annually at the end of the operating season.
Commerical 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.
Last updated: May 16, 2023