Guided Environmental Education Tours CUA



This CUA authorizes interpretive road-based tours, day hiking, non-instructional photography tours, and allows guides to act as a step-on guide on park roads with visits to facilities and services.

General Provisions

  1. The Environmental Education Tour CUA includes the following activities:
    1. Road-based tours in which certified guides lead groups in educational and interpretive tours throughout the park, including stops at services, pullouts, developed areas, and boardwalks. Road-based tours allow for incidental photography. Workshops designed as facilitated and instructional photography and painting opportunities are more suitable for the Painting and Photography Workshops category. Portrait photography is not covered under this CUA and requires a Portrait Services CUA.
    2. Day hiking tours include guided and interpretive day hiking tours on trails throughout Yellowstone that are longer than ½ mile. CUA holders are encouraged to stay on designated trails. Specific areas may be closed to off-trail travel if impacts are noted. The guide for any day hiking trip within the park must have a basic knowledge of map reading and have a topographic map for the area of their hike. It is recommended that the guide have a compass and knowledge of compass use. Each guide must carry a minimum of one can of bear spray at all times and be trained in its use. Bear spray for clients is recommended.
    3. Step-on guide service is defined as a guide who rides in a visitor’s vehicle, tour bus, or other commercial vehicle and acts as a guide for sightseeing tours. It is the CUA holder’s responsibility to check the clients’ proof of auto liability insurance before the trip.
  2. Day hiking, road-based interpretive tours, and non-instructional photography activities are limited to a maximum group size of 15 participants, including guides. There is no maximum group size for step-on guide service.
  3. In order to minimize impacts on natural resources, CUA holders conducting day hiking trips more than 1/2 mile from the road are limited to three groups per day, with no group exceeding 15 participants. Groups should be dispersed and may not congregate on trails or at a destination.
  4. There is no limitation to the number of trips a CUA holder can take for road-based tours as long as the group size of no more than 15 participants per group is adhered to.
  5. Guides must meet one of the requirements listed below in order to be considered a qualified guide under this activity and be issued a guide card to provide tours within Yellowstone:
    1. Attend one Resource Education Training given by Yellowstone National Park in the spring, watch a recording of the most recent Resource Education Training, or provide an outline of your Yellowstone specific training given to employees, and
    2. Complete and pass a test regarding Yellowstone National Park’s natural and cultural resources, as well as park regulations. All answers can be located in the Yellowstone National Park Resource and Issues Book located on the Resources for Commercial Guides page. The test is available at: Yellowstone Environmental Education Guide Test.
  6. Guides are encouraged to stay on designated trails, avoid using social trails, and avoid creating new social trails to reduce impacts to resources.
  7. Road-based tours and photography tours may occupy the parking areas or vehicle pull-outs in Hayden Valley and Lamar Valley for a maximum of 2 hours.
  8. Impeding traffic or causing unnecessary delays in traffic is prohibited. Slow moving vehicles must use roadside pull-outs and parking areas to allow free flow of other traffic. Vehicles may not stop in the roadway to allow clients to take pictures of animals or load and unload passengers.
  9. Vehicles shall not be left idling in parking areas or park across multiple parking spaces. Loading zones must not be occupied longer than necessary to load and unload passengers.

How to apply for this CUA activity

  1. Complete CUA application packets should be submitted via email to
  2. Complete application packets include the documents listed below (click on the blue links below to download each document):
  3. If your application is missing any components listed above, we will inform you via the email address or phone number listed on the application. Any incomplete applications will be placed on hold until all required documentation is received.
  4. Once your application packet has been reviewed and approved, we will send the CUA, NPS Form 10-115, via the email address listed on the application.
  5. The CUA holder will then sign and return the CUA form(s) to The CUA is not final until the signed form(s) are received by our office.
  6. Submit a guide card request for any guides/employees that will be entering the park under this CUA at least two weeks prior to their first trip in the park.
  7. Complete and submit Annual Report Forms—Due by January 31st following the operating year.

Last updated: November 15, 2022

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PO Box 168
Yellowstone National Park , WY 82190-0168



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