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April 18, 20182018 NPS Road Based Tour Fee Policy

Beginning October 1, 2019, commercial tour operators will pay the appropriate per-person entrance fee for each passenger.  The NPS will also standardize commercial use authorization (CUA) requirements and CUA fees for road-based commercial tour operators beginning October 1, 2019. 

What :  All road-based commercial tour operators must apply for and obtain a commercial use authorization (CUA) for every park in which they plan to provide tours.  This entails:

● Obtaining a CUA for each NPS unit in which they operate;

● Paying required CUA fees, and; 

● Submitting mandatory annual CUA reports after each CUA operating season (but not more frequently than once a year).

December 20, 2017NPS Rate Administration Presentation 2017

NPS presentation on rate administration.

December 15, 2017Comments to Proposed NPS Entrance Fee Increases

America Outdoors Association recommends per person per day charge in lieu of the proposed, mandatory $370 charge per 7 to 15 passenger van for a seven-day pass.  Outfitters would be required to pay that much for day trips regardless of the number of passengers in the van and the length of stay.  

December 15, 2017Proposed NPS Entrance Fees for Commercial Tours

NPS is proposing dramatic entrance fee increases at highly visited National Parks, including raising fees to $370 per 7 to 15 passenger van regardless of the number of occupants.

November 08, 2017Report to National Park Service Regulatory Reform Task Force - Member Only

Outdoor recreation and access to public lands are tremendously important to connect Americans to the wonders of the natural world.  Outfitted services provide access to active travel and to places that the general public would be unable to visit without those services.  Outfitting contributes to the vitality of many rural economies.  Thousands of family-run businesses and their employees in rural communities are dependent upon land-managing agency permits to access public lands.   Approximately 17,000 authorizations are issued by the Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management and other federal agencies for outfitting, guiding, special events, and competitions.  Unfortunately, the crush of regulatory processes from various federal agencies is threatening the survival of many of these recreation businesses.  Some of those challenges are outlined in this report.

 While this report covers some of the regulations or policies that we would like to see changed, we would like to note that we understand the important role the agencies play in the management of public lands and applaud their efforts to authorize services to the general public.  By focusing on the problem areas, we do not want this paper to be interpreted as condemning their role in land management.

October 23, 2017NPS Evaluations and Rating Review Process Presentation - Member Only

This presentation describes the new complex National Park Service's Service Standards, Periodic Evaluations, and the Annual Overall Rating are determined.   

October 17, 2017How NPS Calculates Gross Receipts

Concessions and CUA fees are based on gross receipts which can include fees for services delivered outside the Park.  This paper from a 2017 prospectus reveals how NPS calculates gross receipts.

March 30, 2017Accessibility Guidebook for Outfitters Operating on Public Lands - Member Only

The purpose of this guidebook is to provide support for outfitters/guides authorized, under a special-use permit from U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Forest Service, to provide recreation opportunities on public lands. By working together, the agency and the outfitter/guide can ensure equal opportunity for all people, including people with disabilities. This can be accomplished while ensuring the participant's safety and preserving the recreation experience provided by the outfitter/guide.  Outfitters/guides operating under special-use authorization from USDA Forest Service are required to comply with both the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (Section 504). The ADA applies because the outfitters/guides operate as “public accommodation,” that is they are open to the public. Section 504 applies because outfitters/guides operate under special-use permits authorized by a Federal agency—the USDA Forest Service. Implementation guidelines for Section 504, which apply to recreation special-use permit holders, are located in USDA 7 CFR 15b. By signing the special-use authorization, the outfitter/guide agrees to abide by these and all other laws, regulations, and policies of the Federal Government.

March 20, 2017NPS GAO Report: Concessions Program Has Made Changes in Several Areas, but Challenges Remain - Member Only

Report discusses the issues with NPS concessioners and the improvements needed to make the issuance of NPS concessions contracts more timely.

February 01, 2017NPS Directive on CUA Fees November 2015 - Member Only

NPS Directive to Parks on cost recovery and options for charging CUA application and cost recovery fees.

February 01, 2017New CUA Fee Structure Delaware Water Gap 2017 - Member Only

This document describes the CUA fees for outfitters and recreation service unveiled by the Delaware Water Gap National Scenic River.

November 17, 2016AOA Comments to NPS Proposed Stewardship Directive

The Draft Order proposes to adopt the “precautionary principle” and “adaptive management” as “guiding strategies for resource management.” Draft Order, lines 220-221. AOA recognizes that adaptive management can be a useful management tool, provided that it will be employed not only to potentially impose increasingly more restrictive limitations on public use and enjoyment, but also to ease such limitations and expand opportunities for public use and enjoyment when existing limitations are no longer necessary. The proposed adoption of the precautionary principle, however, is enormously problematic and could have a chilling effect on the public enjoyment and other legitimate uses of National Park System resources. 

November 07, 2016NPS Draft D.O. 100 RESOURCE STEWARDSHIP FOR THE 21ST CENTURY - Member Only

The purpose of this Order, and its companion Reference Manual (RM-100), is to articulate and communicate policies and actions to support resource stewardship in the next century.  This Order will help the Service fulfill the NPS mission:


The National Park Service preserves unimpaired the natural and cultural resources and values of the [N]ational [P]ark [S]ystem for the enjoyment, education, and inspiration of this and future generations.  The National Park Service cooperates with partners to extend the benefits of natural and cultural resource conservation and outdoor recreation throughout this country and the world.  [Management Policies (2006), inside front cover.]


This Order provides policies that form a new framework for stewardship decision making within the NPS based upon the overarching resource stewardship goal described in section 3.  The Order also defines new terms and concepts that will be used in this and future guidance. 

June 06, 2016Important Updates from America Outdoors Association - Member Only

Meet AOA’s New Deputy Executive Director / NPS Revises Canyonlands Rafting Prospectus / Paddlesports Orientation DVD Online / Do You Use  Use of Akamai SureRoute Required This Summer / Great Business Reports Now On

March 04, 2016Secretary of Interiors Order Directing Permit Streamlining for Youth Access

U.S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell today released a Secretary’s Order to decrease barriers for disadvantaged and under-resourced youth to access America’s public lands and waters through expediting the permit process.  March 4, 2016.

March 02, 2016NPS Centennial Celebration Legislation Introduced

Rep. Bishop introduced NPS Centennial legislation which restores authority for Concessions Management Advisory Board and increased interpretation in Parks.

February 08, 2016NPS Centennial Tie-in Opportunities - Member Only

A recent National Park Service memo outlines opportunities for concessioners and CUA holders to tie-in to the National Park Service's Centennial Celebration

February 05, 2016NPS Centennial Tie-ins for Concessioners and CUA Holders - Member Only

100 year NPS Centennial Celebration in 2016 offers opportunities for concessioners and CUA holders to conduct events, obtain logo licensing rights, and help promote the Centennial in conjuction with their activities in National Parks.

February 05, 2016NPS Acknowledgement of Risk Form 2015 Grand Teton - Member Only

Approved acknowledgement of risk form for Grand Teton National Park 2015

October 01, 2014Final NPS Insurance Requirements Dinosaur National Monument - Member Only

Exhibit D outlines the reduced insurance requirements in the prospectus for interpretive float trips for Dinosaur National Monument.

August 27, 2014Letter on NPS Insurance Requirements - Member Only

High limits insurance requirements threaten outfitters profitability in National Parks.

August 25, 2014National Park Service Announces New Logo for Retail

In commemoration of the 2016 centennial, the National Park Service is launching a new centennial logo for use on retail products such as clothing, souvenirs, outdoor gear, and educational items.

August 19, 2013NPS Announces Cancellation of Dinosaur Solicitation - Member Only

After considerable input from America Outdoors Association, members of Congress, insurers, and outfitters NPS announced today that the contract solicitation for Guided Interpretive Whitewater Trips in Dinosaur National Monument is being cancelled.  All 11 outfitters with contracts will get one year extensions.  AOA received this notice from NPS. 

July 17, 2013NEW NPS Insurance Regulations - Member Only

NEW NPS Insurance Regulations Will Force Most Whitewater Rafting Companies Out of Business in National Parks

July 06, 2012Final Rule on Bicycle Use in National Parks - Member Only

This rule amends current regulations for designating bicycle routes and managing bicycle use within park units throughout the National Park System. It authorizes park superintendents to open existing trails to bicycle use use with park units under specific conditions.

December 28, 2011AOA Whitepaper on NPS Liability Insurance Limits - Member Only

America Outdoors Association's Whitepaper on NPS Liability Insurance Limits

March 21, 2006 Commercial Use Authorizations - Interim Guidelines - Member Only

Section 418 of the National Parks Omnibus Management Act of 1998, Public Law 105â?391 (Section 418), authorizes (but does not require) 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.

April 17, 2000 National Park Service Concessions - Member Only

This rule amends 36 CFR Part 51, the National Park Service (NPS)regulations concerning NPS concession contracts, to comply with the requirements of Title IV of the National Parks Omnibus Management Act of 1998 (the 1998 Act).


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