Commercial Use Permits

The Commercial Use Permit Program manages commercial activities on Open Space and Mountain Parks (OSMP) lands.


Please note:

  • 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.
  • 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 listed below.

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. Please note: weddings, ceremonies, elopements and other stationary events are only permitted to occur at designated shelters and facilities on Open Space and Mountain Parks (OSMP) lands.

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 nonprofits.

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 TypeApp. feeNonprofit
permit fee
permit fee
(unlimited visits)
$25$125 (total $150)$275 (total $300)
(up to 50 visitors per year, groups of 16 or fewer)
$25$25 (total $50)$25 (total $50)
Additional Permit Fees
(if applicable)

Annual Permits have a $25 non-refundable application fee due at the time of application. Once your permit is processed, the final permit fees will be due and must be paid before your permit can be issued.

Limited permits are automatically issued and pay both the $25 application fee and $25 final fee at the time of application.

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.

  • Annual with groups of more than 16 participants: Please select this type if you will be bringing any groups with more than 16 participants (including any leader or guide). You will need to enter planned trip details for the trips that will have more than 16 participants.
  • Annual with groups of less than 16 participants: Please select this type if you will not be bringing groups of more than 16 participants.

Limited permits will be automatically 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.

Event permits are the same cost as Annual Permits, but are only good for a one-time or less than two week event. Please reach out to for staff approval before applying for an event 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 Notes

If you do not complete your application in one session, you may save your application and log back into the customer self-service portal to complete it at a later date. This is also how you will pay your final permit fees once your permit has been processed.

Applying is a Two Step Process for Annual permits:

  • Complete the online application and pay the application fee for the permit.
  • You will receive an email when your permit application has been processed and your final permit fees are due before your permit can be issued.

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

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 303-441-3440 ext. 5 and we will try to help you as soon as possible. Office hours are Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Application Process Details

General Information

Watch a video tutorial of how to create an account and go through the application process in the new online application system:

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

Create Account or Log In

Create an account in the customer self-service portal. Please note: if you are using a Mac, the Firefox browser works better than Safari for the self-service portal.

Pick Permit Type

Pick your permit type. This cannot be changed later, please review the permit types and choose the correct one for you.

Skip Type

Select next on the Type page; you do not need to enter anything.

Skip Contact

You will be defaulted as the applicant on the Contact page; select next.

More Information

Answer questions on the More Info page. Depending on the permit type chosen, you may need to enter planned trip details, including: date, time of day, activity, trails used, and group size.

Certificate of Insurance

Upload your certificate of insurance on the Attachments page and select next.

Review and Submit

Review your entered information and select Submit.

Pay Fee(s)

Pay the $25 application fee in the shopping cart. If you are applying for a Limited permit then you will pay the $25 application fee and the $25 final fee for a total of $50, and your permit will be automatically issued.

Follow Up for Annual Permit

The following step only applies to Annual permits: Within 14 business days you will receive a follow-up email if any additional items are required to complete your application.

Pay Final Fees for Annual Permit

The following step only applies to Annual permits: Pay the final permit fees once you receive an email that your permit application is complete and has been processed.

Commercial Permit Terms and Conditions

  • Have your permit with you and make copies for anyone who leads a trip.
  • Event permits are valid for the approved dates listed on the permit.
  • Annual and limited permits are valid for the year listed on the permit.
  • You are required to comply with all OSMP rules and regulations.
  • Group size cannot exceed what has been approved by OSMP.
  • You will need to obtain additional permission from OSMP to have groups of more than 16 people.
  • You are responsible for communicating Frontcountry Leave No Trace principles and permit terms and conditions to all participants.
  • At least one group leader must be certified in standard First Aid/CPR on all trips. Exceptions are if you dog walk, photograph, or film exclusively.
  • Permits may be immediately suspended, revoked, or modified for any reason.
  • Permits do not grant permission to enter or conduct activities in areas that are permanently or temporarily restricted or closed.
  • You are required to indemnify, defend, and hold harmless the City of Boulder and its agency employees for losses, damages, or judgments and expenses on accidents.
  • OSMP lands will generally remain available on a first-come-first-served basis for all visitors.
  • Permits do not grant exclusive use of the site. permittees shall ensure that the rights and privileges of other visitors are recognized and met.
  • You are not allowed to interfere with other uses of OSMP or other visitors.
  • No improvements or trail alterations of any kind, temporary or permanent, are authorized without written permission from OSMP. No building, sign, equipment, other property, cultural site, historic structure, natural land feature, vegetation, or wildlife may be destroyed, defaced, removed, or disturbed.
  • No sales or solicitation for sales is to be conducted on OSMP property.
  • If you plan to use an OSMP shelter or facility, you may need to make a reservation. Call 303-441-3440 for information about facility reservations.
  • If you are a film applicant, you are required to have an OSMP commercial use permit and permission from the City of Boulder.
  • Permit holders who bring people off of designated trails in Habitat Conservation Areas will need to have an off-trail permit.
  • If you are a film applicant, you must report on the filming within one week of completion.