Doing Business With The Park

Commercial Use Authorization

A Commercial Use Authorization (CUA) is a permit authorizing appropriate commercial services to park area visitors in limited circumstances. The term of a CUA at the St. Croix National Scenic Riverway (Riverway) is one year and no preferential rights of renewal or similar provisions my be provided to any vendor at any location. Commercial Use Authorizations are not concessions contracts; further, they are not transferable. CUAs are intended to provide a simple means to authorize appropriate commercial services to visitors in park areas. At the Riverway, CUAs as a general rule:
  • Behave as cooperators and partners to represent the National Park Service and its mission.
  • Do not use fixed commercial facilities within the park.
  • Originate and terminates outside the park boundaries.
  • Does not permit commercial sales or money exchanges within park boundaries.
  • Does not permit any commercial solicitation from occurring within park boundaries.

If you have questions contact the Riverway CUA Program Manager.

Laws, Regulations, and Policies

Section 418 of the National Parks Omnibus Management Act of 1998, Public Law 105-391, directs the NPS to issue Commercial Use Authorations (CUAs) to authorize a private person, corporation, or other entity to provide commercial services in national parks. Approval from the area superintendent through a CUA is required before any commercial operations can begin in a park. Visit the National Park Service CUA website for more information about this national program.

At the Riverway, authorizations are valid for one calendar year, expiring on December 31 or the year an application is submitted and approved. The superintendent issues permits on an ongoing basis until all 50 CUAs have been issued. A Certificate of General Liability (insurance), safety, and other professional training certificates are required for the entirety of the performance period. Depending upon the authorized commercial services, further documentation may be required by the authorized party.

CUA Application and Procedure

The application (NPS Form 10-550) for a CUA can be downloaded here, or can be obtained by contacting the CUA Program Office at the address below. The application is three pages, which is standard for all park units permitted to issue CUAs, and 4 attachments specific to the Riverway. These attachments are for reference (Attachment A-C, E), and completion (Attachment D).

Complete applications must contain original signature (i.e., no digital submissions will be accepted).

Applications should include specific landings that will be used for each proposed commercial activity. For example, "tube rentals, Lower Tamarack Landing" or "canoe rentals

Permitted CUA Activities and Services

At this time, the park is permitted to authorize the following commercial services and activities:
  • Rental of watercraft, including: kayaks, canoes, tubes, stand-up paddleboards.
  • Guide services for bear hunting, fishing (all species), and single or multi-day canoeing and kayaking.
  • Log rolling demonstrations.
  • Paddleboat rides.
  • Shuttle services for private and vendor-owned watercraft.
  • Marina slip rentals.

At this time, no other commercial services or activities can be permitted. In 2018, the park will conduct continuing reviews of other commercial services and activities that should be considered for compliance with mission, etc. Contact the CUA Program Manager for activities you wish to be considered, or questions and concerns.

CUA Terms and Conditions

The NPS has terms and conditions on all commercial service agreements. The standard conditions found in all CUAs are located on pages ii-iii of the NPS Form 10-550 in the instructions section. The Riverway has park specific operating conditions, called "Special Conditions," on pages 4-6. The Special Conditions reference required documentation in each of the attachments. Note: Changes in 2017 include the required submission of Supplemental Information for Application (Attachment D), which address both external and internal strategies for the vendor to address NPS and Riverway priorities.

CUA Application Fees

The authority for the NPS to impose user charges to recover costs associated with managing commercial operations is found in 31 U.S.C. 9701 and 16 U.S.C. 3a. Application fees for CUAs are non-refundable. The application fee is $165.00 per application, and is applicable to the 2017 and 2018 calendar years of operation. Administration and Management Fees may also apply.


Once an application is approved, the superintendent will issue an authorization to a vendor (holder). The holder is required to maintain Certificate of General Liability (Attachment A/B) for the duration of the holder's operating season.

Attachment E, which references a Visitor Acceptability of Risks (VAE), must be completed by the holder and submitted to the CUA Program Manager for approval, and once approved, required to be issued to each customer who pays for services from a holder. No "waiver of liability" or any documents containing "waiver of liability" or indemnification language can be issued to a customer.

The NPS requires a single form (NPS Form 10-660) to cover the annual statistics, gross receipts, trip reporting, etc. This form must be postmarked by due November 1, 2018, and must include an original signature by the holder.

Contact Information

Questions or concerns can be referred to CUA Program Manager, Sarah Waterworth, at 715-483-2240 or by email. The mailing address for the CUA Program Office is:
CUA Program Office, St. Croix NSR
401 North Hamilton Street
St. Croix Falls, WI 54024

Last updated: March 2, 2018

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

401 North Hamilton Street
St. Croix Falls, WI 54024


(715) 483-2274

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