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National Park Concessions

Food, lodging, tours, whitewater rafting, boating, and many other recreational activities and amenities in more than 100 national parks are managed by private businesses under contract to the National Park Service (NPS). The services, provided by more than 600 "concessioners," gross more than $1 billion every year and provide jobs for more than 25,000 people during peak season. Learn more about NPS Commercial Services and see what concession contracts are open for bidding.

Contracting and Procurement

National parks have buildings to construct, roads to pave, wastewater treatment plants to operate, and leaky roofs to repair. NPS offices purchase furniture, vehicles, office equipment and a host of other products. The NPS issues all bids and requests for proposals through the federal government's electronic business portals. Current contracting opportunities are posted on Vendors that have questions regarding abbreviations referenced within NPS SOW's may refer to the NPS Reference Standards when completing bids for our work.

Commercial Use Authorization

The NPS Commercial Services Program is responsible for the oversight of commercial visitor services in the national parks authorized by concession contracts, commercial use authorizations (CUAs), and leases. A wide range of activities and services are provided through these instruments.


The NPS provides for leasing of historic as well as non-historic properties in park areas. A lease may not authorize an activity that could be authorized by a concessions contract or commercial use authorization. All leases must provide for fair market value rent as determined by an appraisal. All net income is reinvested to fund historic preservation, capital improvements of the historic properties, park infrastructure, and any deferred maintenance needs.

Special Park Uses and Commercial Filming

Often, businesses consider national parks appealing settings to shoot commercials or major motion pictures, to photograph models for catalogs or kids for their school pictures. Couples choose national parks as beautiful wedding venues. The NPS requires permits for activities like these to make sure they do not unduly interfere with park visitors' access and enjoyment.

Other activities that require special use permits include:

  • Special events

  • First Amendment activities (rallies, demonstrations)

  • Right-of-way permits (utilities, telecommunications, roads)

  • Other non-visitor activities on park land

Permit applications are available through each park's administrative office (and may be available on park websites). Use our online search to find the park's website - which includes contact information.

Last updated: June 7, 2024