The National Park Service has officially announced the withdrawal of its plans to implement a standard, nationwide commercial use authorization (CUA) requirement for road-based commercial tours and will not increase commercial tour entrance fees. Those parks that have long-standing, road-based commercial tour CUA programs may continue to do so and will charge current CUA fees. Parks that have not historically issued road-based commercial tour CUAs may not begin issuing at this time. But, it is always important for road-based commercial tour operators to check with each park directly for specific CUA requirements and fees as well as any park-specific operating requirements.
The proposed higher fee structure has been a high-priority issue for ABA and many of our industry colleagues since the announcement to significantly raise fees was first made in October 2017. For the past 2 ½ years ABA, along with industry colleagues from many travel and tour associations, has fought hard to stop these changes from going into force. With the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, more than ever, we needed this issue settled and are pleased with NPS’ decision. The combined effort from our members, our ABA government affairs team and outside lobbyists, who continued to engage on this issue even when others thought it was a “done deal,” demonstrates that things can get done in Washington when we all work together.
“Now more than ever, we need help from all aspects of the government, including the Department of Interior, to keep this industry moving forward,” said ABA President & CEO Peter Pantuso. “Based on our direct engagement with NPS and the Secretary of the Interior we anticipate that prior to any future efforts to modify the CUA program and/or related fee structure, NPS will work with us and others in the industry before announcing new proposals. In this manner, by strengthening our relationship with NPS, we hope to build a stronger partnership and ensure the industry, the agency and the public are all better prepared and informed about possible changes concerning entrance requirements to our National Park system.”
Since 1998, the NPS has used a standardized commercial tour entrance fee structure composed of four tiers with varying rates based on vehicle capacity. The 111 national parks that charge entrance fees will continue to use the following fees:
*Plus per person
More information on the NPS CUA program and commercial entrance fee is available at https://www.nps.gov/subjects/cua/index.htm.