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NPS releases latest info on new fees, requirements

August 9, 2019

The National Park Service has released more information about changes that will affect tour operators starting this fall. For more than a year, NTA has worked in concert with other tour and motorcoach associations to gather detailed information from NPS in regard to its new policies for commercial use authorizations—as well as the new entrance fees at all NPS-managed sites.

“During a series of meetings and conference calls, we have championed our members’ interests in seeking clarification about these policies and fees,” said NTA President Pam Inman. “And we also have lobbied for relief from the financial and administrative burdens that accompany the changes.”

The new entry fees and CUA policies become effective Oct. 1, and Inman advises NTA members to carefully read the NPS webpage regarding CUAs and to download a Word document containing the latest answers to questions submitted by tourism industry professionals.

The link to that Q&A can be found in the first line of the second paragraph of the CUA webpage. The most recent additions to the document are highlighted in yellow, and they include the following:

  • Neither entrance nor CUA-related fees will be charged at any park for visitors 15 and under.
  • Parks can request to opt out of the CUA requirements and fees, and a limited number have received a waiver. See that list on the CUA webpage.
    • For example, the NPS is waiving requirements and fees for Independence National Historical Park in Philadelphia for five years.
    • The National Mall and Memorial Parks, according to NPS, has not submitted a waiver request.
  • Parks will not accept annual or lifetime passes from passengers who are part of a commercial tour.

“Operators are facing many changes ahead—fees, permits, and paperwork—and the best advice I can give is to really study the NPS information,” Inman said. “Fees and requirements vary from park to park, so you’ll have to do your homework. And keep NTA informed so we can continue to address your concerns.”

Along with a link to the updated Q&A, the park services’ CUA webpage also has a link to a webinar NPS conducted in May, along with a form to ask questions that aren’t answered elsewhere.

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