To the extent specified in this section, the Secretary, upon request, may authorize a private person, corporation, or other entity to provide services to visitors to units of the National Park System through a commercial use authorization. Such authorizations shall not be considered as concessions contracts pursuant to this subchapter nor shall other sections of this subchapter be applicable to such authorizations except where expressly so stated.
The authority of this section may be used only to authorize provision of services that the Secretary determines will have minimal impact on resources and values of the unit of the National Park System and are consistent with the purpose for which the unit was established and with all applicable management plans and park policies and regulations.
The Secretary shall—
(A) require payment of a reasonable fee for issuance of an authorization under this section, such fees to remain available without further appropriation to be used, at a minimum, to recover associated management and administrative costs;
(B) require that the provision of services under such an authorization be accomplished in a manner consistent to the highest practicable degree with the preservation and conservation of park resources and values;
(C) take appropriate steps to limit the liability of the United States arising from the provision of services under such an authorization; and
(D) have no authority under this section to issue more authorizations than are consistent with the preservation and proper management of park resources and values, and shall establish such other conditions for issuance of such an authorization as the Secretary determines appropriate for the protection of visitors, provision of adequate and appropriate visitor services, and protection and proper management of the resources and values of the park.
Any authorization issued under this section shall be limited to—
(1) commercial operations with annual gross receipts of not more than $25,000 resulting from services originating and provided solely within a unit of the National Park System pursuant to such authorization;
(2) the incidental use of resources of the unit by commercial operations which provide services originating and terminating outside of the boundaries of the unit; or
(3) such uses by organized children's camps, outdoor clubs and nonprofit institutions (including back country use) and such other uses as the Secretary determines appropriate.
Nonprofit institutions are not required to obtain commercial use authorizations unless taxable income is derived by the institution from the authorized use.
An authorization issued under this section shall not provide for the construction of any structure, fixture, or improvement on federally-owned lands within the boundaries of a unit of the National Park System.
The term of any authorization issued under this section shall not exceed 2 years. No preferential right of renewal or similar provisions for renewal shall be granted by the Secretary.
A person, corporation, or other entity seeking or obtaining an authorization pursuant to this section shall not be precluded from also submitting proposals for concessions contracts.
(Pub. L. 105–391, title IV, §418, Nov. 13, 1998, 112 Stat. 3516.)