Proposed National Park Service Online Portal Will Modernize Commercial Use Authorization Applications and Reporting
The National Park Service (NPS) is seeking comments on a new online Commercial Use Authorization (CUA) system intended to standardize, modernize, and streamline the application and reporting process.
For 25 years commercial service providers in national parks and other NPS lands that do not operate under a concession contract have been required to obtain a CUA. The CUA application and reporting systems have long been out-of-date, inconsistent, and inefficient for both CUA applicants and NPS administrators. This new online process will be available to a range of commercial service providers such as guided climbing, boat tours, and horseback trips, but will not affect road-based commercial tour operators who will have their own online system eventually.
In addition to new online CUA applications and reporting, the NPS intends the new system to collect fees and allow the public to view all available CUA opportunities. The online portal would provide educational materials for applicants—such as user guides, demonstration videos, and FAQs—to support successful applications. CUA fees will also be collected through the online system and will start at a minimum of $350.
The new system will go online December 1, 2023 for 2024 CUAs in some parks that opted into the first phase (by October the NPS will provide a list of which NPS units will start online applications this December). All NPS units will use the online system starting December 1, 2024, for the 2025 CUA season at which time a standard CUA application fee will be the same across all NPS units and will be reviewed every two years for any adjustments.
The public comment period closes on September 20, 2023. More information can be found at the Park Service website: https://www.nps.gov/subjects/cua/index.htm.