Commercial Use Authorizations

Three people carrying large backpacks hike on a forested trail with their backs turned to the camera.
Commerical use authoizations are required for any for-profit groups such as camps, outfitters, tour groups, and any operation providing goods, activities, or service to the general public within the park.

Nelson Decker


Commercial Use Authorizations (CUA) are issued for all appropriate commercial services conducted by a private person, corporation, or other private entity. Non-profit and educational institutions may also require a permit under this category, depending on the type of service offered. If you'd like to operate a business here, it's likely that you'll need a commercial use authorization. These authorizations establish guidelines for protection of park landscapes and resources.


Changes to the CUA Program

As part of a larger effort to streamline and modernize the National Park Service (NPS) commercial use authorization (CUA) program, the NPS has developed an online system designed to process CUA applications and collect required CUA reports. NPS will initiate this online system roll-out for the 2024 CUA season. Isle Royale National Park will post a link to this system along with an instructional video upon release. We will update this website as more information becomes available. Please contact with any questions.

A large blue and yellow ferry is visible through trees.
CUA holders need to make transportation and camping preparations as soon as possible.

Nelson Decker

Preparing for a CUA Trip

When visiting Isle Royale with a CUA, the following preparations must be made in advance, as soon as possible.

Ranger III Tickets

Make Ranger III reservations as soon as possible every year. Space may not available for last minute reservations. Ranger III availability is not updated in real time, and is subject to change.

Camping Permits

When staying overnight in the park, CUA holders are required to have camping permits for parties of 1-6 people, and group camping permits for parties of 7 or more people. Group camping permits must be acquired in advance.


Annual Reporting

A CUA Annual Report (10-660) must be submitted at the end of each operating season, but no later than January 1st.

Management Fees

Required annual Management Fees are based off of gross income derived from in-park operations. These Management Fees are determined using the Market Price Method.


The National Park Service has terms and conditions on all commercial service agreements.The standard and park specific permit conditions are located on pages 4-7 of the application form. Isle Royale National Park has additional park specific operating conditions attached to an issued CUA for each specific activity i.e.: guided photography or guided backpacking/hiking, etc. For a copy of these activity specific conditions prior to applying, please contact the CUA Administrator.

Guided kayak tour services should review guided kayak conditions and the Guided Kayak Equipment Checklist prior to their trip.

Laws, Regulations, and Policies

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."

Operating a commercial activity in the park without a CUA permit will result in the issuance of a legal warning, federal citation, or a mandatory federal court appearance.


Last updated: October 12, 2023

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800 East Lakeshore Drive
Houghton, MI 49931


906 482-0984

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