As National Park fee increases and permit requirements remain a top concern of ABA motorcoach and tour operators, especially in light of the economic crisis brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, ABA has continued to conduct outreach to the National Park Service and Department of Interior on the status of the changes that were announced in April 2018 and ABA has fought to modify.
We wish to let you know that we are continuing to engage with NPS and the Department, and we are told an official statement is imminent announcing that NPS is withdrawing the April 2018 changes to the commercial use authorization (CUA) requirements for road-based commercial tours, and increased commercial tour entrance fees.
We understand the notice will clarify that:
a. Those National Parks who have long established CUA programs in place may continue using these programs and that current CUA fees will not be increased; and,
b. National Parks that have not historically issued road-based commercial tour CUAs may not start issuing them.
Based upon our engagement with NPS, 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.
This is great news for the industry and we appreciate all the efforts from our members, the ABA GAP team and our outside lobbyists who have been working this issue constantly. We do caution that you wait for the official announcement before contacting NPS directly.