Commercial Use Authorizations


I. Policy

Commercial Use Authorizations are limited authorizations to provide specific visitor services within the boundaries of national parks.

Commercial Use Authorizations are documents used by superintendents of national park areas to ensure that business activities in parks are conducted in a manner that complies with regulations, protects resources, enhances visitors' experiences, and helps ensure safety. Commercial Use Authorizations are issued on an annual basis at Capitol Reef National Park.

II. Authority

Commercial Use Authorizations fall under the authority of 16 U.S.C. 5966 (P.L. 105-391, Section 418) which authorizes (but does not require) the NPS, upon request, to issue Commercial Use Authorizations (CUAs) to persons (referring to individuals, corporations, and other entities) to provide commercial services to park area visitors in limited circumstances.

In addition 36 CFR Section 5.3 states:

Engaging in or soliciting any business in park areas, except in accordance with the provisions of a permit, contract, or other written agreement with the United States, except as specifically authorized under special regulations applicable to a park area, is prohibited.

Commercial Use Authorizations are not concessions issued under the Concessions Policy Act of 1965 (79 Stat. 969, 16 USC 20). This is an important distinction because it generally limits the services for which CUA's can be used.

Commercial Use Authorizations - General Criteria:

Criteria which must be met for activities to be considered a commercial use operation are:

  • Activities authorized must be appropriate to the mission of the park, particularly with regard to resource protection and preservation, and visitor protection and interpretation, in accordance with 36 CFR 1.6 (a).
  • Commercial Use Authorizations must not be used to authorize activities that will have a negative impact on park resources.
  • Authorized activities and services provided must be consistent with the purpose for which park areas are established.
  • Services authorized must originate and terminate outside of the park. All aspects of the business (such as marketing, advertising, exchange of money, etc.) must take place outside of the park (defined as out-of-park services).
  • Permittees must not construct any temporary or permanent structures in the park, and will not be assigned any facilities or portions thereof, located in the park, except those allowed to the general public.
  • Services provided must not conflict with the preferential rights provided under any concession contract(s).

Commercial Use Authorizations - Other Considerations:

Criteria which must be met for activities to be considered a commercial use operation are:

  • The number of incidental business permits may not be limited, and there must be no intent to limit the number. Anyone who meets the basic criteria may be granted a permit.
  • Specific activities may be restricted to limited areas of a park.
  • Permittees must comply with all applicable state and local laws in the conduct of their business.
  • The National Park Service does not regulate rates for services provided by permittees.

In addition, the CUA in which you are interested contains special conditions with which CUA holders must comply. Copies of these conditions are listed in the application.

Permitted Activities

At Capitol Reef National Park, the following business activities will be considered for permits:

  1. Guided hiking - both day and overnight
  2. Guided horseback rides
  3. Horse pack trips
  4. Guided bicycle touring and e-bike touring
  5. Guided motor vehicle tours
  6. Photographic workshops
  7. Environmental and wilderness education
  8. Guiding bison hunters across Swap Canyon and Spring Canyon access to reach legal hunting areas (Henry Mountain Resource Area)
  9. Shuttle services
  10. Camping equipment rental services
  11. Guided canyoneering and climbing

We have enclosed provisions for Commercial Use Authorizations in Capitol Reef National Park. This document will give you further information on the requirements for business operations in the park.

Commercial Use Authorization - Fees

  • Application Fee - $100 (payable with application)

  • Processing and Administrative Fee - $100 (payable when permit is signed by permittee and returned to Capitol Reef National Park for authorizing signature)

  • Monitoring Fees: $50 per hour of monitoring may be assessed as the park deems necessary (payable upon completion of monitored activities and upon notification of the National Park Service, Capitol Reef National Park)

Applying for a Permit

In order to apply for a permit, you should send the following materials to the Special Park Uses Coordinator (email is preferred):

  1. A completed Commercial Use Authorization Application dated and signed by a company official. The application must indicate the type of activity you wish to provide (guided hiking, horse rides, etc.). If issued, the Commercial Use Authorization will be valid only for the activities listed on the application.
  2. A detailed narrative description of the services you propose to offer. The description should include locations of the park you plan to use; numbers of persons on trips; frequency of trips; equipment to be used; whether these are day-use only or overnight trips; and if there are overnight trips, where you would plan to camp.
  3. A list of vehicle(s) to be used. Please include description (make, model, color) of vehicle.
  4. At least one guide must have an American Red Cross or American Heart Association First Aid card or its equivalent and a current CPR card in his/her possession while in the park. A written list of guides with copies of their cards, showing expiration dates, must be sent in with your application.
  5. An application fee of $100. (Please make check out to "National Park Service" or pay on
  6. If you require an "Acknowledgment of Risk" form to be signed by your clients, please include a copy of the form that you have your clients, guests, and campers sign before participating in the guided activity. Forms cannot be a waiver of liability, insurance disclaimer or indemnification agreement. Example of acceptable VAR form.
  7. The Annual Use Report (Post Use Report) for business conducted in the park during the previous year (If not already submitted).
  8. A current Certificate of Insurance documenting adequate comprehensive general liability insurance covering both bodily injury and property damage (see Attachment A, Additional General Conditions, (Item 16 B) for the dollar amount of coverage). Each policy must name the United States of America as additional insured on the Certificates of Insurance. There is no need to resubmit if current certificate is already on file at the park.
  9. A current Certificate of Insurance for Automobile Insurance if you provide transportation to guests inside the park.
Automobile coverage minimum requirements (required for all owned, non- owned, and hired vehicles used by the permitted): car, van, or bus:
  • Passengers Coverage Requirements
    15 or fewer $1,500,000
    16 or more $5,000,000

Emailed applications are preferred. Send all application materials listed above to:

To apply by mail, send all application materials listed above to:

Special Park Uses Coordinator
Capitol Reef National Park
HC 70 Box 15
Torrey, UT 84775

Once received, your application will be reviewed by our staff. If acceptable, a permit will be drafted and returned to you for signature. The signed limited-time permit then must be returned to the park with a payment of $100 permit fee to process the permit.

Commercial Use Permit payment may be made at

Do not submit payment until receiving authorization from the Park.

If you have questions regarding Commercial Use Authorizations, you may receive additional information by contacting Ann Ehler.
Phone: 435-425-4126

We look forward to working with you.


Commercial Tours & Fees

Commercial Tours that are road-based are subject to the Commercial Tour Fee. Road-based tours may or may not need a CUA.

Guided CUA activities are charged the per person fee of $10.00 per client, excluding the trip leader or guide. If a client has an America the Beautiful pass (annual, senior, access, etc.) it covers 4 people in the group.

For example: If a guided tour has 10 clients and one guide, the fee is $100. If one person has a senior pass and another has an annual pass, the passes cover eight of the people and the fee would be $20.

Any guided activities within the park require a CUA.


Restriction on Idling:

Commercial vehicles (buses, vans, school buses, etc.) are only allowed to idle while actively (passengers are physically getting on or off) loading and unloading passengers. All operators must turn off vehicle engines when parked or when not actively loading or unloading. This restriction does not apply to vehicles stopped on roadways in obedience to traffic control devices or orders, or as needed in response to legitimate traffic safety concerns.


Commercial tour bus operators have a tendency to idle their engines while parked. The primary reason is that tour operators like to keep their buses cool with air conditioning while their clients are away from the bus. Idling occurs in the visitor center parking lot and in other parking areas where large numbers of visitors congregate. Idling engines produce noise pollution and exhaust that impacts clean air. This limitation will minimize the impacts to natural resources and visitors. (Superintendent’s Compendium).

Last updated: June 8, 2024

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Contact Info

Mailing Address:

HC 70, Box 15
Torrey, UT 84775


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