National Park Service Discusses Cut’s Impact
The National Park Service on Thursday (Feb. 14) spoke out about the impacts visitors to its 398 properties across the country could face if federal budget cuts poised to kick in March 1 do take effect.
The statement issued by NPS acting chief spokesman Jeffrey G. Olson came in the wake of reports that across-the-board cuts resulting from the so-called federal budget sequester could take $110 million out of the $2.2 billion remaining in the agency’s 2013 fiscal year spending, the Daily Camera, Boulder, Colo., reported.
“Visitors would see reduced hours of operation for visitor centers, shorter seasons and possibly closing of camping, hiking and other recreational areas where there is insufficient staff to ensure the protection of visitors, employees and historic, cultural and natural resources,” Olson said.
“The reductions would limit the National Park Service’s ability to sustain a full complement of seasonal employees needed for interpretive programs, maintenance, law enforcement and other visitor services as we are preparing for the busy summer season.”
Olson’s statement said that about 280 million people visit national parks each year, and their spending alone supports about 247,000 jobs and represents a $31 billion economic impact — mostly in local economies.