Commercial Visitor Services
The National Park Service provides visitor services within the park that are necessary and appropriate for visitor use and enjoyment. A Commercial Visitor Activity is defined as a business that:
- provides an activity or service to the general public
- takes place at least in part in any park unit; and, results in compensation, monetary gain, benefit or profit to an individual entity, whether or not the individual or entity is recognized as non-profit under applicable laws.
Commercial Visitor Services are authorized through concession contracts or commercial use authorizations (CUAs).
NOTE: If you are an individual who is planning a special event or activity in the park that does not result in a monetary gain, you are exempt from the commercial use authorization process. However, special events and activities require that you apply for and be granted a special use permit.
Commercial use authorizations (CUAs) are one method of authorizing commercial visitor services.
- CUAs are currently issued for one year.
- There is no right or guarantee of renewal. Permittee must reapply for a new CUA for succeeding periods upon expiration of the current CUA.
- CUAs are issued for a yearly fee. The current fee is $200.
- CUAs are not considered concession contracts. These services need not be "necessary" but are "appropriate" services that may enhance the visitor experience, and have been determined to have minimal impact on resources and park values.
- Commercial business activity is prohibited within the park unless a CUA has been granted by the park (36 CFR Sec. 5.3).
Concession contracts are one method of authorizing commercial visitor services. Prince William Forest Park currently has only one concessionaire - Prince William Forest RV Campground.
Concession contracts have the following characteristics:
- The term of concession contracts is generally 10 years or less.
- Some concession contracts have a "preference in renewal."
- Contracts are awarded under competition and are limited in number.
- The concessioner pays a franchise fee to the government determined by the probable value to the concessioner for the privileges provided by the contract.