Effective April 26, 2022
Visitors and employees are always welcome to wear a mask if it makes them more comfortable.
New guidance around masking is changing rapidly across the country, the DOI, and the NPS. We will keep employees, our stakeholders, and the public informed of any new developments as soon as they become available.
If conditions change, Big Bend National Park reserves the right to change these parameters or other operational conditions immediately. Please understand the Park will make every effort to communicate the need for the change in a timely manner; however, depending on conditions, immediate action may be necessary.
Big Bend Commercial Use Authorization Permits (CUAs)
What Is A Commercial Use Authorization?
Approximately 50 companies provide a wide variety of commercial services in Big Bend National Park and Rio Grande Wild & Scenic River. These services are limited to those companies having specific authorization, usually in the form of a Concessions Contract or Commercial Use Authorization (CUA).
Commercial Use Authorizations (CUA), are a permit issued by the park Superintendent to allow certain commercial activities within the park. Permits are required of all operators who provide any goods, activities, agreements or other services to the general public that:
Federal regulations prohibit engaging in or soliciting any business in the park areas, except in accordance with the provisions of a written agreement with the United States. Commercial aspects, such as advertising, negotiation of compensation, and receipt of money/compensation must occur outside of the park. Year-round permits coincide with our fiscal year, starting October 1 and ending September 30 of the following year. Permits may also be issued for one-time use.
Park Entrance Fees
A CUA does NOT exempt the holder or clients from NPS entrance fee requirements, nor does it grant automatic access to areas controlled by reservation systems.
RM22A: 6.3.3 Commercial Use of Passes - Entrance passes are not valid for commercial use.
Big Bend Commercial Use Authorizations (CUA)
Big Bend National Park accepts CUA applications for the following activities:
For a detailed description of each activity, see Application – “Attachment B”.
All application and cost recovery fees MUST be paid on Pay.gov. We will no longer accept business or personal checks for payment. A $300 Application Fee must be submitted as part of your complete application package. This fee is cost recovery for the staff time to process your application and issue your CUA Please note that we do not issue refunds for overpayment.
This will be included as part of the annual report.
CUA Coordinator will issue a Bill of Collection to confirm amount with CUA holder BEFORE CUA holder submits payment on Pay.gov.
General Liability Insurance
Liability insurance is required for all CUA holders under the terms of the authorization. Such insurance should be of sufficient scope to cover all potential risks and in an amount to cover claims that can reasonably be expected in the event of serious injury or death. Minimum coverage amount is $1,000,000 per occurrence. Some activities may require increased coverage or other types of liability insurance. Liability insurance policies must name the United States of America as additional insured. The business or person that is providing the service must be named insured (policy holder).
Automobile Liability Insurance
CUA holders who rent vehicles will now be required to show proof of automobile liability insurance as of October 1, 2022 (FY 2023 permits). Please refer to the permit application (Attachment A) for required minimum coverages.
Commercial automobile insurance coverage types are identified as auto designation symbols (1-9). Each symbol represents the type of vehicle protected by the applicable liability policy. CUA insurance certificates will typically reflect one or more of the following symbols (from RM 48B Commercial Use Authorizations):
Insurance Company Rating
Insurance companies must be rated at least A- by the most recent edition of A.M. Best’s Key Insurance Reports (Property-Casualty edition) or similar insurance rating companies (Moody’s, Standard and Poor’s, or Fitch). You may be subject to additional insurance requirements. Refer to “Attachment A”.
The insurance certificate and insurance ratings must be submitted with the CUA application. The rating companies do not issue certificates. We require the insurance broker to note this rating in the Certificate. If the rating does not appear on the certificate, the insurance broker must provide it in another document.
CUA holders must submit an annual report each year. This report is due by November 30th each year. This report provides the park with visitation statistics, reportable injury data, and a record of annual gross receipts. CUA holders conducting river trips must submit their monthly reports at this time also. You may use your own trip recording form, but it must be attached to the 10-660A for each month.
The 2022 Annual Report is due no later than November 30th, 2022. If a 2022 Annual Report is not submitted by November 30th, a 2023 CUA may be suspended pending receipt of report.
Application Fee is $300 annually. Permits will not be renewed from previous years; every commercial operator will need to submit an application for a permit for each fiscal year they operate.
This will be included as part of the annual report and a check for the appropriate amount should accompany the annual report.
For more information on market based fees, please see
If you have any questions concerning the Commercial Use Authorization program at Big Bend, please contact:
Last updated: May 12, 2022