The National Park Service requires specific authorizations for commercial businesses to operate in national parks, usually in the form of a Commercial Use Authorization.
What is a Commercial Use Authorization (CUA)?
Public Law 105-391, Section 418, which was signed in 1998, provides for the issuance of Commercial Use Authorizations (CUAs) to a private person, corporation, or other entity to provide suitable commercial services for park area visitors. Commercial activities are generally prohibited in National Parks unless authorized by a CUA or concessions contract.
What activities are authorized in Yellowstone?
All commercial activity in the park must be permitted by the National Park Service (NPS). Learn which activities are eligible for a CUA in Yellowstone National Park.
What are the general criteria for the issuance of a CUA?
The authorization is issued to a qualified operator to permit the provision of suitable commercial services to park area visitors. A qualified operator is an organization that the superintendent determines has the ability to satisfactorily provide visitor services and carry out the terms of the CUA.
The superintendent determines that the commercial services are “suitable”; that is they (a) will have minimal impact on park area’s resources and values; (b) are consistent with the purposes for which the park area was established; and, (c) are consistent with all applicable park area management plans, policies, and regulations.
The holder must agree to comply with all of the general and specific conditions described in the CUA conditions and activity-specific operating plan. You should familiarize yourself with these documents before applying for a CUA.
For what length of time is a CUA issued?
CUAs are issued for a one-year period. The operating year is from January 1 to December 31.
When is the application period?
The CUA application period opens October 1 and closes March 1. CUA Applications post-marked after March 1 will not be accepted. Applicants who submit an application after the March 1 deadline will not be authorized to operate in Yellowstone.
What are the fees for a CUA?
A $300 application fee for each service category is due with the application. This fee is not refundable. The initial $300 per service fee will be credited toward the market rate fee, which is based on percentage of gross receipts.
The market rate fee, based on a percentage of the previous year’s gross receipts, must be paid to the park by January 31 of each year with the year-end financial statement.