NPS talks about effects of sequestration
As winter-weary travelers begin to plan their vacations, the National Park Service is sounding the alarm over sequestration cuts. At the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area some popular spots will feel the impact.
So many people head to Kittatinny Point in the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area that more than 3,000 bags of trash are removed every weekend. Not this summer. The popular recreation destination is the latest casualty of sequestration.
"Less money means less people and less equipment, and eventually it means less services," explained Park Superintendent John Donahue. "We've reached that threshold where we can no longer provide services doing more with less."
In order to meet the 5% sequestration budget cuts mandated by Congress and President Obama, the 70,000 acre park will be working with about half-a-million dollars less heading into its busiest time of the year.
"We cannot tell you that there will not be negative effects from the cuts," shared Donahue.
Here's how it breaks down, Kittatinny Point Visitors Center and area in New Jersey will close, Milford beach in PA will shut down, Dingmans Falls visitor center will only open on the weekends, vacant positions will be left open and 17 fewer seasonal workers will be hired.
"In order to cut costs and cut on labor you actually have to go to those places where you spend the money," added Donahue. "And these are the places where we spend significant amounts of money."
Visitors can also expect less programs, and more trash and longer grass since mowing and trash pick-up is also being scaled back. The two sites will start shutting down April 10th.
"We are being told by Congress that these are permanent across the board cuts," said Ranger Kathleen Sandt. "So this is something that we're going to need to get used to."
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