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Commercial Use Permits

Which permit do I need?

Unsure of which permit you might need? Answer a few questions in the guide to find out if you need a Commercial Use, Special Use and/or Film Permit.

Do I need a permit?


Please note: 

  • Several large trail repair projects are occurring this summer. Learn more and view upcoming trail closures at
  • Operating drones is prohibited on OSMP lands; view the city's drone regulations
  • Due to federal regulations, photography and filming WILL NOT be allowed on the NCAR, NCAR Bear Canyon, NIST, or any trails on or that lead into the federal Government properties. If you are taking photos on a trail nearby federal property, you must take them in a fashion that does not include the federal buildings in your photographs. 

What is the Commercial Use Permit Program?

The Commercial Use Permit Program manages commercial activities on Open Space and Mountain Parks (OSMP) lands. OSMP has designed the program to help minimize impacts to natural, agricultural and cultural resources, and to preserve the quality of the visitor experience.

It is imperative as a permit holder that you are aware of which designated trails are open for your particular activities and what the restrictions are for that trail. Permits do not grant exclusive use of any site.
All OSMP Rules & Regulations must still be followed (i.e. no structures, such as large props, large equipment or tables and chairs). You must be able to abide by all terms & conditions

Who Needs a Permit?

You need a commercial use permit if you charge a fee for a service that brings people or animals to OSMP lands or facilities. A fee can be a charge, purchase of goods or services, or a required donation for a service or as a condition of participation. Commercial operators include for-profits and non-profits.

Apply for a Commercial Use Permit.

If you are filming then you also need to submit a film application

Liability insurance is required to obtain a commercial use permit. View the sample insurance certificate pdf to see what is required. The certificate must name the "City of Boulder and its officials and employees" as additional insured in a general liability insurance policy with a combined single limit of $1 million per occurrence and a $2 million aggregate.  

Examples include: instruction on climbing, hiking, photography, environmental education, dog walking, and commercial filming.

Examples of services that do not require a commercial use permit are:

  • Regular curricular school groups. However, school groups will need special use permits if there will be 25 or more participants;
  • Groups not charging a fee or collecting monetary compensation, but groups with 25 or more participants will need a special use permit;
  • Groups on an officially led OSMP interpretive hike (OSMP staff or volunteer led).

Permit Types and Fees (valid until Dec. 31 of year issued)

Permit Type Non-profit For-profit
Annual (unlimited visits) $150 $300
Limited (up to 50 visits per year and groups of 16 or fewer) $50 $50
Event (one day up to a two week time frame) $150 $300
Additional Permit Fees (if applicable) $30/hour $30/hour

Permit application fees are non-refundable.

A damage deposit may be required. Deposits will be determined based upon each permit request.

Annual permits are issued to operators with the potential for year-round visitation to OSMP lands, trailheads, parking areas, shelters or picnic areas. Annual permits include an unlimited number of cumulative visits, not to exceed individual group size limits without written OSMP approval. Conditions will be permit specific. Annual permits are valid until Dec. 31 of the year issued.

Limited  permits will be issued to operators who agree to specific conditions of operation on OSMP lands, trailheads, parking areas, shelters or picnic areas. Visitation is not to exceed 50 total visitors in any one calendar year, and total group size must always be 16 or fewer participants. A visitor is one person visiting OSMP one day. (For example, ten people with one leader for one day would count as 11 visitors). Climbing groups that obtain limited permits must only climb from designated trails pdf.

Event permits are issued to operators desiring a one-time or less than two week event on OSMP lands, trailheads, parking areas, shelters or picnic areas. Conditions will be permit specific. Event permits are valid for the date(s) listed on the permit.

Additional Permit Fees:

Permits requiring more than eight total hours of staff time are subject to an additional fee of $30 per hour.

Application Process Details

Applying is a Two Step Process:

  • Complete the online application and payment information for the permit.
  • Email, fax or deliver proof of insurance, signed application and any other required documents.

OSMP will need at least 14 days to review your completed online application.

Commercial use permits do not give permit holders an exclusive use privilege.

Details on the Online Application Process:

  1. Agree to terms and conditions.
  2. Enter business or organization contact information.
  3. If you are applying for an annual or event permit, details including:
    • Date
    • Group size
    • Trails used
    • Time of day
    • Type of activity
  4. Submit payment information.
  5. Print online application coversheet and payment confirmation.
  6. Submit proof of insurance and online application coversheet and affidavit to OSMP by email, fax, mail or in person for review. Your permit application will not be reviewed until the online application, payment, proof of insurance and affidavit have been received by OSMP.

If you do not complete your application in one session, you may update the application. The program times out after 30 minutes of inactivity.

If you make changes to your plans after OSMP has issued your permit, you only need to notify OSMP if your group has more than 16 participants.

If you have trouble using this program, please call 720-564-2047 and we will try to help you as soon as possible. Office hours are Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Reporting on Events and Trips (2017 or older permits)

All permit holders must report on events and trips after they occur. Event permit holders must complete a report on the event within one week after it ends. Limited and annual permit holders must complete a report at the end of the permit’s calendar year. Please record the details of each event and trip as they occur throughout the year to ensure accurate reporting.

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