'Sequester' Would Cut National Parks by $110 Million
California's national parks could cut visitor center hours and close some campgrounds and trails if Congress does not reach a budget agreement by the end of this week.
The National Park Service's budget stands to lose $110 million should the automatic cuts, known in policy circles as "the sequester," take effect. The service's total budget is $2.9 billion, but only about 10 percent of that is for discretionary spending on items such as historic-artifact maintenance and trail repair, the Associated Press reported.
A park service spokesman said such a reduction would limit the number of seasonal employees hired for summer--workers who help keep campgrounds and trails safe and run interpretive programs.
"We remain hopeful that Congress is able to avoid these cuts," spokesman Jeffrey Olson said in a statement. "The National Park Service, like every government agency, has been asked to prepare plans in the event that the sequester happens."
The cuts could affect all 398 national parks, monuments, seashores, recreation areas, and other park service properties nationwide. In California, the affected parks include Yosemite, Point Reyes National Seashore, the Golden Gate Recreation Area, and the newly created Pinnacles National Park.