Take Action: Stop Significant NPS Fee Increases
*** Update!!! (8/9)***
NPS has announced via email on August 9, 2019, that the CUA program implementation for road based commercial tour operators has been postponed till April 1, 2020. In the interim, entrance fees will return to their previous vehicle based levels and only NPS-units that already have implemented CUA requirements can issue permits.
*** Update!!! (8/15)***
NPS has granted parks the ability to seek a waiver from the CUA program. The memo below outlines the waiver process. Only NPS units can seek this waiver, but operators can encourage them to apply for the waiver.
Currently, the following parks have received a waiver to opt out of road-based commercial tour CUA requirements:
Stones River National Battlefield
Fort Frederica National Monument
Independence National Historical Park
Adams National Historical Park
Appomattox Court House
Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument
Petersburg National Battlefield
Steamtown National Historic Site
Richmond National Battlefield
Maggie L Walker National Historic Site
Salem Maritime National Historic Site
The National Park Service (NPS) unveiled a proposal in October 2017 that will considerably increase the fees charged to a variety of motorcoach and group tour visitors to national parks. According to a statement by the NPS, the primary purpose of this price increase is to generate revenue to help address their maintenance backlog, which is currently upwards of $12 billion.
NPS Information Collection Request
On May 28, 2019, NPS published an Information Collection Request notice (ICR) in the Federal Register, requesting comment on their “ask” to renew their authority to collect information as part of the CUA requirements. The Federal Register notice can be found here; comments are due July 29, 2019.
ABA held an open confernece call/webinar on July 17, 2019 to discuss this comment opportunity to halt the CUA program.
Click here to view the recording
Submit your comments via mail, email or phone to:
Mail: Ms. Phadrea Ponds
Acting NPS Information Collection Clearance Officer
National Park Service
1201 Oakridge Drive
Fort Collins, CO 80525
*****Comments should include:OMB Control Number 1024-0268******
Information to Share with Your Customers
ABA has created for you a letter to share with your customers explaining how the rising National Park Fees will effect them in 2019 and beyond. Download the letter here.
NPS Webinars and Q&A Documents
The NPS Commercial Services and Recreation Fee Programs held two webinars regarding the CUA requirements and commercial tour entrance fee changes in April/May 2019.
A recording of the April 24/May 7 webinar is available here.
More information can be found on the NPS Commercial Use Authorizations website, so please visit the site for updates.
NPS manages all national parks, many national monuments and other conservation and historical properties with various title designations, with more than 400 properties in total.
ABA member Karst Stages with a tour group at Yellowstone National Park
Of primary interest to ABA and the motorocoach, tour and travel industry, the NPS will be making entry and permit fee adjustments for commercial tour operators using motorcoaches. Their plan will increase the entry fees for commercial operators and standardize commercial use authorization (CUA) requirements for road-based commercial tours (e.g. motorcoaches), including application and management fees across the parks.
Beginning Jan. 1, 2019, all parks will charge commercial tour fees made up of three components: the CUA application fee, a CUA management fee and an entrance fee. Even parks that have never charged any fees before will now charge something.
To Calculate Fees
The CUA application fee will be an annual fee of $300 per year, some parks will grant a two-year application fee. This will be mandatory for all NPS units.
The CUA management fee is a $5 per passenger fee. This fee is to be paid on an annual basis and will also require the filling of an annual report to the NPS.
The entrance fee is where the most drastic change will be. Groups will have to pay for their trip participants based on each park's per person entrance rate. For parks that have an entrance fee, the CUA management fee is already included within the paid amount.
Here are 2 examples of what your fees are today and what they will be in Oct. 2019 with a 50 person tour at both a fee free park and one with entrance fees.
|Gettysburg National Military Park (Pennsylvania)|
|Today||Oct. 1, 2019|
|Park Entry Fee||$0||$0|
|CUA Application Fee||$0||$300|
|CUA Management Fee||$N/A||$250 |
($5 per person x 50)
|Grand Canyon National Park (Arizona)|
|Today||Oct. 1, 2019|
|Park Entry Fee||$300 ||$1000 |
($20 per person fee x 50)
|CUA Application Fee||$250||$300|
|CUA Management Fee||$N/A||$0 |
(included in amount paid)
In October 2017, the National Park Service (NPS), initially published its plan to drastically increase the entry fees and standardize the Commercial Use Authorization (CUA) permitting process at over 118 NPS locations, including national parks, monuments, historical and other sites. Over the past few months, NPS has been reviewing the comments that ABA and many of our members and the public submitted regarding the initial NPS plan.
On Friday, April 12, 2018, NPS announced that they would be increasing the entry fees by $5 for all parks that are currently collecting entrance fees. On April 19, 2018, NPS announced their plans for changes to the CUA fees and requirements for groups traveling to parks via motorcoach in a new proposal. This new CUA plan will take effect Oct. 1, 2019. However, future motorcoach entrance fees at parks are impacted by the entrance fee announcement, and NPS has asserted that individual parks can add additional fees as they deem it necessary. Operators will need to pay attention to the specific fees at each park individually (e.g. reservation fee, parking fees, etc.)
ABA also convened a "Dear Colleague" Campain with Members of Congress
See what members of Congress are saying to each other!
Congressional Dear Colleague Letter 1