Commercial Use Authorizations

CUA Program Updates

On February 25, 2022, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) updated the guidance that informs DOI and NPS policies on public health mitigations for COVID-19.  These changes reflect the progress that our country has made in fighting the virus: safe and effective vaccines are widely available, treatment options are improving, and testing and masks are easier to find.  

As of Thursday, March 3, masks are no longer required in either indoor or outdoor locations, both for the public and federal employees while the local community level remains in either low or medium (for Grand Canyon Village and the North Rim excluding Tuweep this is Coconino County).  Please note that this standard is flexible depending on conditions in Coconino County.  It is possible that we may return to a mask requirement under this guidance if conditions in Coconino County returns to a high condition.  We all need to be prepared to be flexible under this new system. 

Masks are still required on all public transportation, including park shuttle buses.  This is guidance driven by the Department of Transportation.  We will inform you of any changes to this requirement as we learn it. 

Building occupancy levels, physical distancing, vaccination status, and other COVID precautions have not been addressed in guidance to date. We will inform you on any changes in these areas as the evolve. 

Visitors and employees are always welcome to wear a mask if it makes them more comfortable.  

Updates on local community levels for Coconino County will be posted and updated on the Park Operations Update webpage under the ‘Alerts’ section.  This information will be updated weekly on Thursdays by the CDC, and we should remain flexible and be ready to shift back into a mask mandate posture with little notice.  

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, Grand Canyon 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.

Please e-mail us at the Permits Office with any questions.

The CUA application period for calendar year 2022 opens November 1, 2021.  These CUAs will expire on December 31, 2022.

New forms and information will be on the website on November 1, 2021.  If you plan on operating the first week of January 2022, please submit your CUA application by November 22, 2021.  We require up to 30 days to process and issue a CUA and we may need all of those 30 days. 

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On October 1, 2022 we will begin accepting and processing new CUA applications, which will be issued for two (2) years, and will expire December 31, 2024. 

New CUA Categories

We have simplified the number of Authorized Commercial Activities from 14 to six (6). The new categories are as follows: 

Guided Backcountry Hiking CUA – Includes Overnight Backpacking and Day Hiking. This is a new CUA category for companies conducting day hikes or overnight backpacking trips below the rim. 

Guided Bicycle Tours CUA – Class 1 e-bikes are now approved for commercial tours. 

Photography and Art Workshops CUA – No change from last year. 

River Equipment Rental CUA – The conditions will be updated so they are consistent with the equipment requirements of the commercial river concessioners. 

Road Based Tour-Transportation CUA – This CUA has the biggest change as it now covers four commercial activities. This CUA is required if you are providing one or more of the commercial services below: 

  1. Interpretive Tours 
  2. Motorcoach Charters 
  3. Recreational Shuttle Services 
  4. Motorcycle Tours 

Guided Tuweep Tours CUA – this CUA is specific to Tuweep for commercial tours via motor vehicle or motor vehicle with stock (horses, mules).  There will be new conditions added specifically for stock use. 

 

New Conditions 

All six of the revised CUAs include: 

  1.  Incidental Transportation: CUA holders are authorized for incidental stops at visitor centers, museums, restaurants, wayside exhibits and limited guided hiking along the rim.  Only Backcountry Hiking CUA holders may conduct guided hiking below the rim. 
  2. There is also a new Interpretation condition: All tours must provide natural and/or cultural resource information about the park as well as safety and resource protection messages. Guides provide an educational forum through the use of interpretive methods and concepts for the preservation and protection of park resources in conjunction with the management objectives of GCNP. 

 

2022 Cost Recovery and Management Fees 

All CUA Application Fees for cost recovery of processing and issuing a CUA will now be $300 for each CUA type.  Management Fees have not changed. 

New changes for 2023

CUAs will be issued for two (2) years.

We will begin issuing 2-year CUAs effective January 01, 2023 and expiring December 31, 2024.  No matter when you apply for your CUA, the expiration date will be 12/31/2024. 

CUA application window - March 31 deadline

Complete CUA applications may be submitted between October 1st and March 31st.  This is a 6-month window to submit your application.  A complete CUA application packet MUST be received by the Permit Office prior to 11:59 pm March 31st for consideration. Applications are processed in the order they are received. Incomplete application packages will not be processed after May 1st

There will be an application window for each year of the 2-year CUA, so if you miss the first window, you can apply for the second year.  But the CUA will still expire 12/31/2024.  

Ex: Apply between Oct 1, 2022 – March 31, 2023 for a CUA that expires 12/31/2024 

Or, apply between Oct 1, 2023 – March 31, 2024 for a CUA, but that will also expire 12/31/2024. 


The 2-year CUA Application Fee will be announced after our office conducts a Cost Recovery Analysis. 

We will keep you all updated via email and on the website with this information along with a CUA Handbook containing FAQs, timelines, and other helpful information.

 

How to Apply for a CUA

2022 CUA Applications are now being accepted.

Apply Now!
 

2021 Annual Reports

2021 Annual Reports are now available.
Submit your completed Annual Report to: grca_permits_mail@nps.gov
Use the subject line format "[CUA Name - CUA Number] - 2021 Annual Report"

Complete your 2021 Annual Report Now
 
 
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What is a Commercial Use Authorization (CUA)?

A CUA allows an individual, group, company or other for-profit entity to provide commercial visitor services within a National Park area. Services provided to NPS employees are not covered by CUAs (e.g., Schwan's grocery delivery). Commercial Use Authorizations (CUAs) are required for all commercial visitor services provided by a company or organization not based in the park.

What does the law and regulations say about CUAs?

PL 105-391, Section 418 and 36 CFR 5.3 require NPS issue and charge a reasonable fee for CUAs. The law requires that NPS ensure CUAs:

  • Are accomplished in a manner consistent to the highest practicable degree with the preservation and conservation of park resources and values;
  • Are consistent with the purpose for which the Park was established;
  • Comply with all applicable management plans, park policies and regulations;
  • Are subjects to conditions promoting the safety of visitors;
  • Limit the liability of the United States Government;
  • Are subjet to a reasonable fee that at a minimum recovers administrative and management costs of the CUA.

Who needs a CUA?

A CUA is required if an entity provides a good, activity, service, or other function to visitors in a NPS managed area, uses park resources and results in compensation, monetary gain, benefit or profit.

What constitutes a commercial tour or service?

A commercial tour or service consists of one or more persons traveling on an itinerary that has been packaged, priced, or sold for leisure/recreational purposes by an organization that profits from providing that service.

You must be in possession of a valid CUA to conduct business in Grand Canyon National Park.

 
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Last updated: March 31, 2022

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