Friday, April 28, a collection of local business owners and Cape
Hatteras National Seashore (CHNS) representatives met at the Hatteras
Realty Avon office to review the Commercial Use Authorization Program
that allows for-profit businesses to conduct activities, tours, etc. in
the National Seashore.
Seashore's Commercial Services program permits businesses to provide
visitor services through Commercial Use Authorizations (CUAs), and more
than one National Park Service speaker at the meeting noted that it was
a valuable partnership.
allows us to extend the benefits of natural and cultural resource
conservation and outdoor recreation [to the public], and you all play a
big part in that,” said Jennifer Pierce, who manages the public program
for the Bodie, Cape Hatteras, and Ocracoke Lighthouses.
“We would love for you to share these stories of what makes our seashore so unique.”
way the program works is fairly straightforward. Local business owners
who want to conduct a service within the National Seashore can apply
for a CUA via an application and an application fee of $200. The
authorization is annual and expires on 12/31, and there are a couple
requirements once the CUA is in hand, such as reporting on details like
the number of visitors and revenue, and adhering to liability insurance
and commercial vehicle insurance requirements, when applicable.
the program has already been established for some time, with 20
businesses obtaining CUAs in 2016 and 15 signed up so far for 2017,
there were some new additions in the services available for the 2017
the different types of services or activities that businesses can
provide within the National Seashore are divvied up into the following
• Beach Fire Services for interpretation or demonstrations – (new for 2017)
• Guided Fishing Services including fishing instruction, and non-motorized and motorized fishing trips
• Guided Horseback Tours
Guided Waterfowl Hunting, which includes instruction, non-motorized and
motorized hunting trips – (new for 2017)
Interpretive and Educational Programs, such as walks, guided hikes,
astronomy, or birdwatching programs - (new for 2017)
• Non-motorized Boat Tours (for example, kayak tours)
• Off-Road Vehicle Driving Tours
• Outdoor Fitness Classes (for example, yoga or Pilates)
• Photography Instruction
Road-Based Commercial Tours and Transportation, or tours that stick to
NPS areas but don’t use the ORV ramps – (new for 2017)
• Watersport Instruction (for example, surfing or stand-up paddleboarding lessons)
a CUA for a specific category, a local business can conduct any number
of services, tours, instruction, or other activities that use the
National Seashore as a backdrop.
addition to the orientation to the program, safety measures and other
info was shared with the room at Friday’s meeting, such as using 911 as
an initial resource for any potential problems while on the seashore,
and utilizing the new local rip current forecast webpage to ensure
safety, which is available at http://www.weather.gov/beach/mhx.
many folks in the room were already connected with the National Park
Service CUA program, the open house was a new element for 2017, and was
part of an effort to engage new partners and work more closely with the
Seashore’s many long-standing commercial partners, per a Cape Hatteras
National Seashore press release.
For information about the Seashore’s Commercial Use Authorization program and instructions on how to apply, visit: https://www.nps.gov/caha/getinvolved/dobusinesswithus.htm.