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What sequester means for national parks

March 2, 2013 8:05am
Shenandoah National Park

Shenandoah National Park

Maybe you’ve got a trip planned to Yellowstone National Park this year, or Grand Canyon, or maybe closer to home at Shenandoah. Better read this first. I found a really interesting piece on Outside magazine’s website about what the sequester could mean for America’s National Parks.






Among the bad news likely to become reality as a result of the impending cuts, according to Outside:

  • It is expected that thousands of permanent employees will be furloughed for up to 22 work days. However, the NPS largely relies on seasonal employees to help meet its demands for the spring and summer months. In the case of seasonal employees, many won’t have to worry about a furlough because they won’t be hired back. Park superintendents have been advised to delay hiring new employees and in some cases might hire none at all.
  • Superintendents must slash education outreach programs and seasonal hiring.
  • Some areas of the country are completely dependent on tourism in the national parks to sustain their economies.
  • If the sequester is enacted, employment at the parks will drop and access roads will close down. Fewer visitors will be allowed and, as a consequence, local economies may lose their consumer markets and start to falter.
The worst part about this, from the a park-lover’s perspective is that our national parks have already had to endure significant cuts over the past few years.
Over the last three years, the park service’s budget has been cut five percent…While the amount of money the parks receive each year hasn’t changed, operating costs have continued to rise, resulting in park employees continually being asked to do more with fewer resources.

About Andy Thompson

I was the Outdoors Columnist at the Times-Dispatch from 2007 to 2013, writing twice a week about mountain biking, fishing, hunting, paddling and much more. I live a 1/4 mile from the James River, close enough to see bald eagles soaring over my house on their way to find a meal. Pretty cool, eh?