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Commercial Use Permits Help & FAQs

Online Application Tips

Have ALL of your information ready before you begin!
This includes:

  • complete legal business name
  • contact information
  • activity
  • date(s)
  • group size
  • trails
  • time of day

Remember to record the details of each event and trip throughout the year for your year end report.
This includes:

  • date
  • time of day
  • trails
  • group size (number of people including leaders)
  • activity

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. Why does OSMP require commercial use permits?

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 other visitors and natural, agricultural and cultural resources.

2. Why does OSMP charge commercial operators for commercial use permits?

The money for the application is only to cover the administrative costs of the program described in FAQ No.1 (above). It does not subsidize any other program.

3. Is a commercial use permit required for commercial operators?

Yes. If you are a commercial operator on OSMP lands, you are required to hold a commercial use permit.

4. Who is considered a commercial operator?

You are considered a commercial use operator if you charge a fee for a service that brings people or dogs 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 nonprofits.

Examples include: instruction on climbing, hiking, photography, environmental education, and 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 or permission letters if there will be 25 or more participants;
  • Groups not charging a fee or collecting monetary compensation;
  • Groups on an officially led OSMP interpretive hike (OSMP staff or volunteer led).

5. How and where do I apply for a commercial use permit?

Applying is a two step process. The first step is applying for the permit online. When you have completed the online application, you can print out the coversheet and citizenship affidavit for the second step. To complete step two, mail, fax or drop off a copy of your insurance certificate and citizenship affidavit to OSMP at 66 S. Cherryvale Road.

6. How long will it take to receive my commercial use permit?

It will take at least 14 days to process and review your application after we receive the completed application and payment in full.

7. How much does a commercial use permit cost?

Permit Fee Structure

Permit Type Nonprofit For-profit
Annual $150 $300
Limited $50 $50
Event $150 $300

Permit application fees are non-refundable. Permits requiring more than eight hours of OSMP staff time will be subject to $30 per hour fee.

8. Which commercial use permit should I apply for if I don't know whether my business or organization will have more than 50 visitors to OSMP lands per year? (A visitor is one person visiting OSMP lands for one day, which means five groups of 10 or 10 groups of five, for example.)

If you apply for a limited use commercial use permit, you are committing to 50 or fewer visitors on OSMP lands per year. If you would like the option of having more than 50 visitors per year, you should apply for an annual permit.

9. Does a commercial use permit give me the right to ask other visitors to leave?

No. The permit does not grant operators an exclusive use privilege for any area.

10. What if my planned activity location is occupied by the general public when I arrive?

You may use an alternate location.

11. How long is a commercial use permit valid?

It is valid for the dates specified on the permit. Annual and limited permits are valid for a calendar year (January 1 through December 31.) Event permits are valid for the approved timeframe of the event.

12. How will high use areas be administered?

Trips into high use areas will be approved on a first come, first served basis.

13. Can I renew my current commercial use permit for next year?

Yes. You will be able to renew your permit for the next calendar year as long as you remain in good standing with OSMP and have reported on any current permits.

14. What do I need to do to meet the insurance requirements?

General liability coverage limits are required to be at a minimum of $1,000,000 Each Occurrence and $2,000,000 General Aggregate.

Your insurance certificate must show the "City of Boulder and its officials and employees" as additional insured as well as to indemnify the City of Boulder. (Please don't list Open Space and Mountain Parks as additional insured.) 

You may fax the form to 720-564-2072 or mail the form to:

City of Boulder and its officials and employees

Attn: Permit Administrator
City of Boulder OSMP
66 S. Cherryvale Rd.
Boulder, CO 80303

15. What if I have changes to my planned trips after I get my permit?

If you would like to add an additional trip to your permit, you only need to call OSMP if your activity will have more than 16 participants because these require OSMP approval. New trips or changes to trips with 16 or fewer people are OK; just keep track of the changes for your permit reporting.

16. What if my trip is to a picnic area, trailhead or parking lot, rather than a trail?

Please choose the trail that is closest to the area you plan to visit.

17. Do I need to apply for a second limited or annual commercial permit if I have an additional trip?

No. If you would like to add an additional trip to your permit, you only need to call OSMP if your activity will have more than 16 participants because these require OSMP approval. New trips or changes to trips with 16 or fewer people are OK; just keep track of these for your permit reporting.

If you have a limited use commercial use permit, you have committed to 50 or fewer visitors on OSMP lands per year.

18. What other terms and conditions apply to commercial permits?

Please visit the Commercial Use Permit Terms and Conditions page for detailed information.

Glossary

Agency Sponsor:  The one person held legally responsible for any action pursuant to each unique commercial use permit.

Agreement list for groups with more than 16 participants:
If you are planning an activity with more than 16 participants, you shall agree to abide by these rules:

  • Agree to stay on designated trails.
  • Agree to mitigate on-trail conflict by breaking into groups with 16 or fewer participants upon entering OSMP lands, and by practicing good trail etiquette including yielding to others.
  • Agree to keep any dogs on leash if dogs are allowed in area visited.
  • Agree to abide by all OSMP terms and conditions.
  • Agree that group leaders are trained in Leave No Trace principles (Awareness Workshop, Trainer or Master Trainer, or Leave No Trace curriculum in the program.)
  • Agree to describe each trip on the application form and include all pertinent details.
  • Groups with more than 50 participants shall provide a parking, trash and toilet plan.

If you do not want to abide by these guidelines, your application will be subject to a special review process and the potential for additional fees.

Annual Permit:  Annual permits will be issued to operators with the potential for year-round visitation to OSMP lands. Annual permits will include an unlimited number of cumulative visits, never to exceed individual group size limits without written OSMP approval. Conditions will be permit specific.

Commercial Operator:  Any person conducting commercial events on OSMP lands; can be a permittee, employee or designee.

Commercial Use:  Any activity for which a fee is charged for service and that bring people or animals to OSMP lands.

Commercial Use Permit:  Revocable license approved and issued by OSMP to a commercial operator for the purpose of conducting commercial activities on OSMP lands.

Complete Organization Name:  The legally recognized organization or business name.

Designated Trail:  An officially recognized OSMP trail as displayed on the current OSMP Trail Map.

Event Permit:  Event permits will be issued to operators for a one-time or less than two-week event on OSMP lands. Conditions will be permit specific.

Fees:  A Fee can be a fee, charge, purchase of goods or services, or donation required for the provision of a service or as a condition of attendance or participation.

For-Profit Service Provider:  A commercial operator that is not exempt from taxation under Section 501(c)(3) of the U.S. Internal Revenue Code (26 U.S.C. § 501(c)(3).

Group Size Limit:  Groups are limited to 16 or fewer participants unless approved by OSMP. Groups with more than 16 participants must agree to low impact conduct guidelines. In addition, groups with more than 50 participants must submit a parking, trash and toilet plan.

Limited Use Permit:  Limited use permits will be issued to operators who agree to specific conditions of operation on OSMP lands, not to exceed 50 total visitors in any one calendar year. A visitor is one person visiting OSMP one day. (For example, 10 people with one leader for one day counts as 11 visitors).

Climbing groups that obtain limited permits must only climb from designated trails. 

Limited permit condition list:

  1. Activity will only occur on designated trails. Climbing groups are authorized to guide on climbs with designated access trails (see list above).
  2. Group size will always be 16 or fewer.
  3. Dogs will always be on leash (if permitted in area visited).
  4. No signs or markers of any kind will be used.
  5. Structures of any kind will not be used or created.
  6. Activity will not obstruct trails.
  7. Activity will not obstruct accesses or parking from other visitors.
  8. Sales activity of any kind will not be conducted.
  9. Amplified sound or generators will not be used.
  10. All trash will be packed out.

Nonprofit Service Provider:  A commercial operator that is exempt from taxation under Section 501(c)(3) of the U.S. Internal Revenue Code (26 U.S.C. § 501(c)(3) or a governmental organization.

Permit Fees:  A flat or varied charge for a permit dependent upon each unique permit application.

Secure Access Code:  Unique user-created PIN for the purpose of creating an online OSMP Commercial Use Permit account.

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