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Incidental Business Permits
Canyon Floaters Guided Tours River Guides Biking Tours

Thank you for your interest in obtaining a permit to operate commercial activities within Big Bend National Park / Rio Grande Wild and Scenic River.   


Who Needs One?



1. For all “Authorized Activities,” download application and complete following the instructions given.

If you have questions regarding an activity that is not currently listed under “Authorized Activities,” please contact IBP Coordinator Bernadette Devine at  (432) 477-1189.

2. Review insurance requirements for Automobile and General Liability Insurance and mail a copy of proof of insurance along with completed application. Make sure Big Bend National Park is listed as an “additional insured” on each certificate. A permit will not be issued unless insurance requirements are met. 

3. Review and understand conditions of permit. By issuing a permit, the park service in no way guarantees campground availability, river levels, etc. 

4. Enclose $500.00 ($100.00 one-time application fee + $400.00 annual administrative fee) for a river use permit or $400.00 ($100.00 one-time application fee + $300.00 annual administrative fee), application, proof of insurance and mail to:  IBP Coordinator, P.O. Box 129, Big Bend National Park, TX 79834.


These permits, known as Incidental Business Permits (IBPs), are issued by the park Superintendent to permit certain commercial activities in National Park Service areas, including Big Bend National Park / Rio Grande Wild and Scenic River. Permits are required of all operators who provide any and all goods, activities, agreements or other services to the general public which take place, at least in part, in the park, uses park resources and are undertaken for or results in compensation, monetary gain, benefit or profit to an individual, organization or corporation, whether or not such entity is organized for purposes recognized as non-profit under local, state or federal law. This includes educational institutions.

The commercial aspects of the services, except for the service itself, must occur outside of the park. This includes marketing, advertising, use or construction of temporary or permanent structures, the negotiation of compensation with the customer, or the solicitation or receipt of money or other compensation.   

IBP’s are issued for a period of one year. The effective date of the permit coincides with the Park’s fiscal year (FY). Each fiscal year starts October 1 and ends September 30 of the following year. For example, permits issued for FY 2005 are effective from October 1, 2004 through September 30, 2005.

To obtain an Incidental Business Permit, commercial operators must complete an Application. Initially, a fee of $500 is required to process an application for river use (a one-time $100 Application Fee and an annual $400 Administrative Fee). An initial fee of $400 is required for a non-river use IBP (a one-time $100 Application Fee and an annual $300 Administrative Fee  

The application indicates authorized activities within the park. You may list as many activities as you intend to operate under your permit. Special Conditions may be attached to your permit for each activity selected. These conditions will further define your requirements for operating in each of these areas.   

Within sixty days after the end of each year, the IBP holder is required to submit accurate financial data concerning operations within the Park (Financial Report). Additionally, the IBP holder is required to submit accurate records of activities within the park, based on each and every trip conducted within park boundaries (Activity Summary).

Liability insurance is required on all Incidental Business Permits. All IBP holders, including educational institutions and non-profit organizations, are required to carry liability insurance that specifically lists the National Park Service as an “additional insured.” A Certificate of Insurance must be received before the Permit is issued. The specific insurance requirements are attached to the application.

Law and policy require the National Park Service to recover the costs of managing and monitoring the Incidental Business Permit program.  At the end of each permit year, each IBP holder authorized to conduct guided river trips or fishing trips will be sent a Bill of Collection to cover their pro rata share of the parks actual cost to monitor and/or perform needed functions to properly manage IBP river use.  Fiscal year 2005’s cost should not exceed $4.00 per user day.  A “user day” is calculated by multiplying the number of clients by the number of days. (A “day” is defined as any portion of a 24-hour day).  For example, if the IBP holder has two clients on a two day trip, this would equal four user days.  These costs will be tabulated using the visitor use data submitted by the IBP holder (Activity Summary) and must accurately represent the activities within the park. These figures should be consistent with the group size limits and regulations pertaining to Backcountry/River Permits that the IBP holder is required to complete and submit for each of their trips. Road-based tours and all other authorizations will be charged on a case-by-case basis for actual costs incurred by the park due to the commercial operation.  

We look upon our commercial operators as partners in managing the park and its resources. Your services and expertise allow many visitors to undertake activities that enhance their experience and enjoyment while they are at Big Bend. We look forward to working with you to provide quality experiences for park visitors. 

If you have any questions concerning the Incidental Business Permit program, please contact IBP Coordinator, Bernadette Devine, at (432) 477-1189 .  


John H. King