Commercial Use Authorizations

Commercial Use Authorizations (CUAs) authorize companies or individuals to conduct business in Rocky Mountain National Park on an annual basis. A CUA provides a group a non-exclusive license to offer services to park visitors.

Your organization is considered a business if it provides goods, services, activities, or other things to the public using National Park Service lands. If you receive any form of compensation for the things you provide, you are conducting a business or commercial activity. The National Park Service definition of a business or commercial organization does not distinguish between commercial and non-profit organizations.

CUA activities must be appropriate to the mission of the park; compliment resource protection, visitor protection, and interpretation goals; and not pose any potential for derogation of values or purposes for which the park was established. They must be consistent with the park's future plans as well as present operations. They should be compatible with the planning documents for the park. The park will not normally limit the number of organizations that offer similar services or activities.

CUA holders have their base of operation outside the park. All the commercial aspects of the activity must occur outside of NPS lands. This includes marketing, advertising, use of permanent or temporary structures, and negotiation with customers. Compensation or payment for services (even tipping) may not occur on NPS lands.

Some activities are authorized under Concessions Contracts, which are exclusive multi-year authorizations to provide goods and services. Horseback rides, wood sales, merchandise operations, and climbing trips and classes are operated under Concessions Contracts. To obtain more information about these services, send an email or call the Concessions Office at 970 586-1209. Do not use the CUA application to apply for these services.

Currently, the following activities are permitted under the CUA program:

  • Art classes
  • Fly fishing instruction
  • Frontcountry bicycle tours
  • Guided backpacking
  • Interpretive hiking tours
  • Limited Trip Guided Climbing
  • Llama packing services
  • Photography workshops
  • Portrait photography sessions: Single session (permit available online)
  • Portrait photography sessions: Annual permit
  • Scooter tours
  • Shuttle services
  • Snowshoe & ski tours
  • Wedding Coordinating Services** (Wedding Planner)
    **in addition to the $300 permit fee, there is a $25 per event booking fee

The fee is $300 per year for each guided activity. Download a printable CUA application.

Rocky Mountain National Park requires the following information in order to complete a CUA application:

  1. A completed application. Download a printable CUA application.
  2. The $300 CUA fee per guided activity.
    • To pay by check or credit card:
      1. Go to Pay.gov.
      2. Using the search box, search for "Rocky."
      3. Choose the Commercial Use Authorization form from the list of all Rocky-related forms.
      4. CUAID #ROMO5318.
      5. Fill in required fields on form with the company information and hit submit.
      6. Fill in credit card information or ACH for checking account payments.
      7. If you have any questions, please feel free to call 970 586-1209.
  3. Proof of adequate general liability insurance and automobile insurance. Rocky Mountain National Park needs to be listed on the General Liability Insurance as an additional insurer on the face of the policy. To make sure the park receives a copy, it needs to read as follows:
    United States Government
    Department of the Interior
    National Park Service
    Rocky Mountain National Park
    1000 Hwy 36
    Estes Park, CO 80517
  4. We require the following coverage:
    Approved Activity Permit Fee Commercial Business
    Liability Insurance Min.
    (see insurance sheet below)
    Certification Required Leave No Trace Training Special Requirements
    Frontcountry Bicycle Tours $300 $500,000 per occurrence / $1M aggregate First Aid & CPR Online Awareness Course
    Art/Photo Workshops-Tours $300 $500,000 per occurrence / $1M aggregate Recommended First Aid & CPR. Required if 0.5 miles or more from roadside/trailhead. Online Awareness Course
    Portrait Photography $300 $500,000 per occurrence / $1M aggregate Recommended First Aid & CPR. Required if 0.5 miles or more from roadside/trailhead. Online Awareness Course
    Vehicle Shuttle Tours $300 $500,000 per occurrence / $1M aggregate Recommended First Aid & CPR. Required if 0.5 miles or more from roadside/trailhead. Online Awareness Course
    Wedding Services $300 $500,000 per occurrence / $1M aggregate Recommended First Aid & CPR. Required if 0.5 miles or more from roadside/trailhead. Online Awareness Course $25 per event booking fee
    Winter Activities $300 $500,000 per occurrence / $1M aggregate First Aid & CPR Online Awareness Course Teaching Avalanche Classes: Schedule on Google Calendar
    Llama Packing Services $300 $500,000 per occurrence / $1M aggregate First Aid & CPR Online Awareness Course
    Guided Hiking (on trail) $300 $500,000 per occurrence / $1M aggregate First Aid & CPR Online Awareness Course
    Guided Backpacking $300 $500,000 per occurrence / $1M aggregate First Aid & CPR Online Awareness Course
    Guided Fly Fishing $300 $500,000 per occurrence / $1M aggregate First Aid & CPR Online Awareness Course
    Off-Trail Backcountry Travel (additional requirements) No Fee. See Req. $500,000 per occurrence / $1M aggregate Min. of 1 guide per trip recommended WFR or higher. All others minimum of First Aid & CPR Online Awareness Course Book trips a minimum of 24 hours in advance on Google Calendar. Max. group size is 12.
    Climbing Guide Certification Program $300 $1M per occurrence / $2M aggregate 1 guide per trip required WFR or higher. All others First Aid & CPR. Online Awareness Course For certification courses only
    Limited Trip Climbing / Mountaineering $300 $1M per occurrence / $2M aggregate 1 guide per trip required WFR or higher. All others First Aid & CPR. Online Awarenss Course Up to 3 trips not to exceed 9 calendar days total (can be non-consecutive). Book trips a min. of 24 hours in advance on Google Calendar.
  5. Automobile Liability Insurance

    If a CUA holder transports passengers or uses a vehicle in the performance of the service in the park, they are required to have automobile liability insurance. The auto liability insurance must include coverage of "owned, leased, rented or hired" vehicles if the CUA holder rents or leases vehicles. Minimum auto liability insurance:

    Vehicle Insruance
    (bodily injury and property damage)
    Minimum per Occurrence Liability Limits*
    Up to 6 passengers $1,000,000
    7–15 passengers $1,500,000
    16–25 passengers $3,000,000
    26+ passengers $5,000,000

    * Indicated minimum per occurrence liability limit or minimum State liability requirement in State or operation, whichever is greater.

    Commercial auto insurance provides:

    1. Liability insurance, which includes coverage for bodily injury, property damage, uninsured motorists, and underinsured motorists;
    2. Physical damage insurance, which includes collision insurance; and
    3. Other coverage, which includes medical payments, towing and labor, rental reimbursement, and auto loan coverage.

    Taxis that do not provide tour serves are only required to have Auto Liability insurance. The Commercial General Liability covers out of vehicle activities, and taxis do not provide of out vehicle activities.

  6. Please complete the Guide Pass and Guide List with certifications. Download a printable Guide List and Pass Form.
    • It is required that at least one guide on each trip is certified in First Aid and CPR. Some activities do require a WFR or higher for at least one guide that on the trip.
    • This list may be updated as needed throughout the season. Due before operating in the park. *** You can always request more passes throughout the year as needed.
    • All clients must pay an entrance fee or show proof of current Entrance Pass, Rocky Mountain National Park Annual Pass, Interagency Pass, Golden Age/IA-Senior Pass, or Golden Access/IA-Access Pass.
  7. A copy of your brochure and/or rates as soon as you have it or a web address that has information such as rates and trip dates.
  8. Please send an itinerary of the areas of the park you are planning on using for guided activities.
  9. Please include a copy of the "Acknowledgment of Risk" that you have your clients, guests, and campers sign before participating in the guided activity. If you require such a form to be signed by your clients, it must follow this format. An example that the park service has approved for use for in-park operations has been included.

All paperwork needs to be completed and returned to the Concession Office no later than one month prior to operating in the park to make sure all parties have the appropriate paperwork on file. This change has been made due to an increase in the number of permits being issued.

Send paperwork to:

Rocky Mountain National Park
Attention: Concession Office
1000 Highway 36
Estes Park, CO 80517

or email: romo_fees_permits@nps.gov

All required documents must be received, reviewed, and the permit signed by the Superintendent prior to operating in the park. Once executed, a signed original permit will be returned to you.

Last updated: February 2, 2018

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

1000 US Hwy 36
Estes Park, CO 80517

Phone:

(970) 586-1206
Through winter, the Information Office is open 8:00 am–4:30 pm Mon–Fri. Recorded Trail Ridge Road status: (970) 586-1222.

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