A look at potential cutbacks at national parks

AP News
Posted: Feb 22, 2013 5:57 PM

A memo from the National Park Service obtained by The Associated Press outlines potential cuts at many of the nation's 398 national parks if forced federal budget cuts are enacted next week. The plans include:

— Cape Cod National Seashore, Mass.: Closure of the Province Lands Visitor Center; reduction of seasonal natural resource personnel would force the closing of Great Beach to protect nesting shorebirds.

— Yosemite National Park, Calif.: Staff reductions that would end guided ranger programs at Wawona and the Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias; elimination of a program in which 3,500 volunteers provide 40,000 hours of activities; less frequent trash pickup due to loss of campground staff.

— Yellowstone National Park, Wyo.: Delayed spring road openings; reduced or delayed seasonal hiring; delayed access to Grant Village and Yellowstone Lake.

— Gettysburg National Monument, Pa.: Loss of 6,872 volunteer hours due to lapse of seasonal volunteer coordinators; reduction in removal of exotic species; elimination of 20 percent of student education programs.

— Natchez Trace Parkway, Miss.: Closure of 25 comfort stations one day per week.

— Mammoth Cave National Park, Ky.: Closure of the most remote cave section.

— New River Gorge National River, W Va.: Deferred maintenance on buildings, roads and trails. Reduction in Boy Scout trail maintenance program.

— Denali National Park, Alaska: Delayed plowing; delayed opening of the visitor center.

— Glacier National Park, Mont.: Delayed opening of the only road that provides access to the entire park.

— Grand Canyon National Park, Ariz.: Reduced hours of operation at the Grand Canyon Visitors Center, affecting 250,000 visitors.

— Catoctin Mountain Park, Md.: Reduce by half the operating hours at visitors center.

— Blue Ridge Parkway, N.C.: Cut 21 seasonal interpretive rangers; close half of visitor contact stations.

— Independence National Historic Park, Pa.: Closure in spring and fall of eight of 16 interpretive sites such as the Declaration House.

— Mount Rainier National Park, Wash.: Close the Ohana Visitor Center due to reduced staffing, affecting 60,000-85,000 visitors.

— Minuteman Missile National Historic Site, S.D.: Cease guided tours of the primary park due to staffing shortages, impacting 49,000 visitors.

— Grand Teton National Park, Wyo.: Close the Jenny Lake Visitor Center, Lawrence S. Rockefeller Preserve and the Flagg Ranch Information Station impacting 300,000 visitors.

— National Capital Region, Washington, D.C.: Scale back and cancel sponsored events.

— Great Smoky Mountains, Tenn.: Staff reductions would reduce road maintenance, increase emergency response time, and delay snow, ice and tree removal from roadways.

— Jewel Cave National Monument, Wind Cave National Park, S.D.: Discontinue 35 percent of cave tours daily.

— Kaloko-Honokohau National Historical Park, HI: Reduction in maintenance staff would leave boundary fences unrepaired and close trails.

— Pu'uhonua O Honaunau National Historical Park, HI: Invasive species would go untreated.

— Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, Mich.: Invasive species would go untreated. Also, reductions in seasonal hiring would reduce protections for endangered piping plovers. Plover chicks and adults would be more susceptible to death from human activities and predation.