Commercial Use Authorizations

This page provides information about Commercial Use Authorizations (CUAs) at Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks. General information about CUAs in the National Park Service (NPS) can be found at the NPS CUA page.

Commercial Use Authorizations are issued for appropriate commercial services conducted by a private person, corporation, or other private entity. Non-profit and educational institutions may also require a permit under this category, depending on the type of service offered. If you'd like to operate a business in the parks, it's likely that you'll need a commercial use authorization. These authorizations establish guidelines for protection of park landscapes and resources, especially in areas designated as wilderness.

Information about the different types of CUAs at Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks and resources for current CUA holders are available by clicking on the menu below.

 

A Wilderness CUA is required for commercial activities within Congressionally-designated wilderness in Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks (the Sequoia - Kings Canyon Wilderness). See the "CUA Holder Reference Materials" at the bottom of this page for how to view the wilderness boundary and the boundary of the Mount Whitney Management Area.

Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks have authorized the following visitior services from Wilderness CUAs:

  • Guided Day Hiking
  • Guided Backpacking
  • Guided Photography Instruction/Workshop
  • Guided Mountaineering
  • Guided Backcountry Ski Mountaineering
  • Guided Nordic Day Activities (Nordic Skiing, Telemark Skiing, Snowshoeing, and Snowboarding)
  • Guided Portering (Dunnage/Gear Transport)
  • Guided Fishing Instruction
  • Guided Pack and Saddle Services (Stock Use).

The parks have authorized a limited number of CUAs valid for a two-year period, from January 1, 2022 through December 31, 2023. The list of currently authorized wilderness commercial guiding service providers can be found here.

If you have questions about how to obtain a Wilderness CUA for the 2024-2025 seasons, please contact the Commercial Services Office by email.

A Front-Country CUA is required for commercial activities conducted within front-country, non-wilderness portions of Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks (SEKI). See the "CUA Holder Reference Materials" at the bottom of this page for how to view the boundary of the designated wilderness.

Applications for a CUA to operate in the SEKI front-country are available year-round. CUAs for commercial services in the front-country are authorized for up to a two-year period.

The following activities have been approved for Front-Country Commercial Use Authorizations:

  • Guided Day Hiking
  • Guided Nordic Activities (Nordic Skiing, Telemark Skiing, Snowshoeing, and Snowboarding)
  • Guided Fishing Instruction
  • Guided Photography Workshop / Instruction

Other activities are not authorized at this time.

If you are interested in applying for a Front-Country CUA, complete the Front-Country CUA Application and submit it to the Commercial Services office. If you have questions about Front-Country CUAs, please email the Commercial Services Office.

The National Park Service defines Road-Based Commercial Tours as one or more persons traveling on an itinerary that someone has packaged, priced or sold for leisure/recreational purposes and provides no other services except those incidental to road-based travel in a NPS area (on-board interpretation and incidental stops at visitor centers, restaurants, wayside exhibits, etc.).

The National Park Service (NPS) has withdrawn plans to implement a standard, nationwide CUA requirement for road-based commercial tours and will not increase commercial tour entrance fees. Road-based commercial tour operators should visit the NPS CUA webpage for additional information.

Road-based commercial tour CUAs are not required at Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks at this time. However, if a road-based tour involves out-of-vehicle guided activities such as guided day hikes, a Front-Country CUA may be required for those guided activites. See above for information about Front-Country CUAs, including a list of allowed activities.

Please see our Fees and Passes page for information on commercial tour group vehicle and passenger capacity fees. Note that commercial vehicle entrance fees can only be paid at an entrance station, not in advance, via credit card or cash. Except for vehicles with a capacity of six or fewer passengers, entrance fees are based on passenger capacity, not occupancy.  As such, a commercial vehicle with capacity of 7+ passengers that is empty except for the driver will pay the same entrance fee as a full vehicle.

If you have questions about Road-Based Commercial Tours in Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks, contact the Commercial Services Office via email.

FAQ for CUA Reporting

Forms for Wilderness CUA Holders

Forms For Non-Stock Wilderness CUAs

Forms For Stock Wilderness CUAs

Annual Report Forms

Stock CUA Resources

  • Wilderness Stock Use Information Hub - Grazing maps, meadow open and close dates, stock users guide, and other inforlation about wilderness travel with stock in Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks.

 Forms for Front-Country CUA Holders

Operational Information for CUA Holders

  • In addition to the Permit Conditions of the Commercial Use Authorization, the Superintendent's Compendium presents other rules for operating within Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks.
  • CUAs are not allowed to have clients sign a waiver of liability while operating within the parks. Businesses may have clients sign an Acknowledgement of Risks form that does not consitutue or require that clients waive the company of all liability. We provide an example template for a Visitor Acknowledgement of Risk form for businesses to use if they wish. Note: the existing language of the form cannot be changed except to enter a description of risks and to fill in the already identified blanks.
  • Interactive Wilderness Boundary Map: the boundary of the Congressionally-designated Sequoia - Kings Canyon Wilderness determines the areas where Wilderness and Front Country CUAs can operate. To generate an interactive map of the wilderness (instructions are for use on a desktop computer):
    • Go to the online Park Atlas. Click anywhere outside the black box in the center of the page.
    • Click on "Layer Visibility" in the upper left corner.
    • Click on the small triangle next to "Protect Your Parks" to open a drop down menu.
    • Scroll through the sub-menu and click on the eyeball icon next to "Wilderness Area." This makes the wilderness area layer visible.
    • Move your cursor over the map and zoom in to view the details of the wilderness boundary in specific areas.
  • Interactive Map of the Mount Whitney Management Area (MWMA): Wilderness CUA holders can only operate in the MWMA if they hold an allocation of MWMA Commercial Service Days (CSDs). Spending any portion of a day in the MWMA during the quota period should be reported as a MWMA CSD. To generate an interactive map of the Mt. Whitney Management Area (instructions are for use on a desktop computer):
    • Go to the online Park Atlas. Click anywhere outside the black box in the center of the page.
    • Click on "Layer Visibility" in the upper left corner.
    • Click on the small triangle next to "Protect Your Parks" to open a drop down menu.
    • Scroll through the sub-menu and click on the eyeball icon next to "Mount Whitney Management Area." This makes the MWMA layer visible.
    • Move your cursor over the map and zoom in to view the details of the MWMA boundary in specific areas.

CUA Training Resources

Last updated: June 23, 2022

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