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national park ranger at Yosemite

U.S. National Park Service update: New fees set to take effect Oct. 1

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posted May 31, 2019
This April, the U.S. National Park Service sent out a fact sheet detailing upcoming changes to commercial use authorization requirements for road-based commercial-use tour operators. The information was compiled at the request of a group of nine travel associations that NTA brought together for advocacy regarding park-related matters.

Below are key points addressed in the fact sheet regarding the new requirements, which are slated to go into effect Oct. 1. To see the full version of this fact sheet, which contains a link to an ever-expanding Q&A page and to a May 6 webinar, go to

  • A commercial use authorization issued by the National Park Service allows individuals or companies to conduct commercial activities and provide services within a national park. “Road-based commercial tours” apply to itineraries that a company has packaged and sold.
  • The responsibility for obtaining a road-based commercial tour CUA will fall on the company that packaged and sold the tour, and a chartered motorcoach company must acquire a CUA if it also packages and sells tours to consumers or a foreign tour operator.
  • As part of the standardization process, road-based commercial tour operators will be required to obtain a CUA for each NPS unit in which they operate, pay required CUA fees and submit annual CUA reports after each CUA operating season.
  • An annual non-refundable CUA fee of $300 will be required for each park for which the commercial tour operator applies. And, beginning Oct. 1, road-based commercial tour operators will pay a $5 per passenger entrance fee based upon the new rates in parks that charge entrance fees.
  • NPS is creating an online centralized system, set to go into effect October 2019, for commercial tour operators to submit one CUA application for all of the parks in which they wish to operate.

Top photo: Yosemite National Park
Photo by ©Greg Pickens/Adobe Stock


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