On Aug. 2, the National Park Service made a major policy shift regarding Commercial Use Authorization (CUA) fees. They will no longer require CUA holders to keep track of park visitors under 16 years of age who are already exempt from entrance fees. These passengers will now be exempt from the $5 per person CUA management fee as well. This is a change from what the NPS had announced during their webinars this spring.
In addition to this change, the NPS has begun listing NPS-units that have opted out of the CUA program. Currently, the following parks have received a waiver to opt out of road-based commercial tour CUA requirements:
- Stones River National Battlefield (TN)
- Fort Frederica National Monument (GA)
- Independence National Historical Park (PA)
- Adams National Historical Park (MA)
- Appomattox Court House (VA)
- Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument (ME)
This is positive news. As you know, ABA along with other bus and tour associations have been lobbying the Department of Interior, the NPS and Congress on this issue. We are working for you! While we are seeing some changes, the fight is not over. We still need you to contact your Congressional representatives and tell them that allowing the NPS to place these egregious fees on tour and bus operators in an effort to make up their $12 billion maintenance backlog is unacceptable. Motorcoach travel is the greenest form of transportation. Financially restricting groups from seeing our national parks is going to create greater environmental harm when those who would choose to go by bus will now travel on their own by car. This will add thousands of cars to already eco-sensitive areas.
The NPS has updated their CUA FAQs. You will notice that while the NPS has answered a number of questions brought to them by the industry, not all questions are answered.
Stay up-to-date on this issue by visiting ABA’s website, https://www.buses.org/policy/issues/npsfees.