Friday, March 01, 2013

Sequestration Puts National Parks In Danger

Today is March 1, which happens to be a fairly important date here in the U.S. Because President Obama and Congress failed to come up with a new budget plan before midnight, the Sequestration process has now kicked in, making automatic cuts to the government's budget across the board. These deep cuts are going to have an impact on a number of services and programs that we'll likely be dealing with for weeks and months to come.

One of the most visible places where you'll notice sequestration having an immediate and direct impact is in America's national parks, which will now be forced to cut hours of operation, close visitor centers and cut jobs in an effort to meet the new budget demands.

I wrote about this for Gadling.com last week, but it is worth sharing here as well, particularly since many of us happen to love the national parks. Amongst the cuts that have already been made public are delayed openings for Yellowstone, Yosemite and parts of the Grand Canyon this spring. In the Grand Tetons, the Jenny Lake Visitor Center, the Laurance S. Rockefeller Preserve, and the Flagg Ranch Visitor Contact Station will all be closed for the summer. On Mt. Rainier the Ohanapecosh Visitor Center will also be shuttered, while in Denali the Eielson Visitor Center will see a delayed opening this spring. The National Park Service has even announced that five campsites inside the Great Smokey Mountains National Park will be closed for the year as well. Considering that is the most visited park in the entire system, it is sure to have an impact on visitors.

This is just the tip of the iceberg however and there are sure to be many similar reductions in service across nearly all the national parks. The dedicated staff at those locations will work hard to minimize the impact on travelers, but it many of the cuts will simply be too large to ignore. If you're planning on visiting a national park in the near future, I'd recommend checking ahead to see what impact the sequestration process is going to have on that particular park. I'd hate to have someone arrive at their destination, only to find that the park isn't open yet or some key services were not being offered.

It's a shame that it has come down to this, but this is economic climate we live in right now. Lets hope it all gets sorted out soon.

7 comments:

bigger al said...

I would love the opportunity to fly to DC and administer a bitch-slapping to all 535 members of Congress. Criminy I hate politics!

Kraig Becker said...

I hear you Al. Can't believe it has come down to this.

Stephanie Dayle said...

Our National Parks were open and running perfectly FINE when our government had half the budget they do now. In fact, they didn't even shut down for the Great Depression. If they close now, and you want to place blame we can all look at society, and the guy at the top. Our National Parks have survived up economies, down economies, and a depression -- how ironic that they are in danger now.

jake said...

I just find this irresponsible,it's a damn shame that the American people reelected President Obama.

Tina Ryan said...

This is hideous.. Can't believe this is happening...

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James Curtis said...

Hope they won't slash the budget on national parks as this can affect tourism.

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jguerra said...

I am with you Al ? And why is it that they do not furlough all our Capitol Hill politicians?