Permits for Guides, Water Taxis, and Other Businesses

A fish with gold and black scales is held towards the camera by a person standing in a boat.
Do you want to become a fishing guide or conduct other business in the park? A Commercial Use Authorization (CUA) will allow you to legally do so in Voyageurs.


Looking over the water in a kayak
Looking over the water in a kayak


Guiding, Renting, and Offering Other Business Services in Voyageurs

If you're interested in conducting business in the park, you must obtain a Commercial Use Authorization (CUA). Businesses with CUAs offer crucial services that help visitors access and learn about the park, and CUAs are legally required for all businesses that operate in any national park unit.

Voyageurs helps businesses obtain CUAs for the following services:

  • Fishing Guide (Summer)
  • Water Taxi / Shuttle Service
  • Private Tour Boat
  • Marine Repair / Towing
  • Houseboat Support Services
  • Fishing Guide (Winter)
  • Dogsled Tours
  • Snowmobile Rental
  • Snowmobile Towing and Repair
  • Ice Fishing Shelter Rental and Placement
  • Guided Paddle Trips
  • Guided Camping
  • Guided Hiking
  • Paddle Craft Rental
  • Motorboat Rental
  • Underwater Salvage
  • Barging and Hauling

Businesses that want to provide services in the park other than those listed above must also obtain a valid CUA before they can begin operating. When applying, add a page to the application that describes the location, type of service you want to offer, and a business plan and timeline.

Current CUA Forms for Voyageurs


Keeping Your CUA Valid

To keep your CUA valid, you must:

The park requires you to keep your CUA card with you whenever you work in the park. In addition, the Coast Guard may require commercial guides to also keep their captain's license and insurance documentation with them while performing business.
Keep your insurance policy up to date and send a copy of each policy renewal to the park. Typically, policies are arranged on a year-by-year basis.

Policies can be either emailed to the park or sent by mail to:

Voyageurs National Park
Ranger Administration
360 Highway 11 East
International Falls, MN 56649
Submit an Annual Report to the park by December 31 of each year. The park sends out these 2-page documents by mail and email (or you can download it above). Both pages must be filled out completely.

Annual reports can be emailed to the park or sent to:

Voyageurs National Park
Ranger Administration
360 Highway 11 East
International Falls, MN 56649
If you require a captain's license for your business and renew it through the US Coast Guard, send the park a copy of your renewed license. Charter boat captain's licenses currently last for 5 years.

Updated licenses can be either emailed to the park or sent by mail to:

Voyageurs National Park
Ranger Administration
360 Highway 11 East
International Falls, MN 56649

Important Note: even if your CUA was previously approved, it is not legally valid unless you maintain an insurance policy, submit an annual report for the previous year, and—if applicable for your business—hold an active captain's license.


Frequently Asked Questions

The application fee of a CUA in Voyageurs is currently $200.00. Additional fees apply if forms are submitted past the due date (December 31 of your second season).
Annual Reports are required by December 31 of each year.
Yes; this information is required for all CUA holders.
Voyageurs maintains a list of valid CUA holders and their business services on our website.

To be listed, CUA holders must maintain a valid CUA by submitting their renewal application, insurance, annual report, and supporting documents (if applicable) on or before the deadline.

They must also send the park an updated copy of their insurance and any applicable supporting documents (e.g., captain's licenses for fishing guides and other commercial boat operators) before the originally-submitted versions expire.
No; CUA holders may not require visitors to sign a waiver of liability. However, CUA holders offering high-risk services may advise visitors about risks using a Visitor Acknowledgement of Risk form (VAR). The VAR describes the inherent risks of the activity and warns visitors of those risks. The form may not be modified to include waiver of liability language.

If a CUA holder wishes to use an alternative VAR, they must first send a draft to the park for approval before distributing it to clients.

Issuance, Denial, and Suspension of CUAs

This Standard Operating Procedure provides guidance to park managers when considering whether to restrict, suspend, or revode a Commercial Use Authorization, and also when considering whether to approve an application for a CUA.

Other questions? Call the park.

If you have questions about CUAs, call Voyageurs National Park Headquarters at (218) 283-6600 (ext. 0).

Last updated: February 9, 2024

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Contact Info

Mailing Address:

Voyageurs National Park Headquarters
360 Hwy 11 East

International Falls, MN 56649



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