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Sequester Specifics From Yellowstone Park, Where the Cuts Will Hit and How

Photo courtesy of YellowstoneGate/Flickr

Yellowstone National Park became a centerpiece in the national debate over sequestration when the National Park Service said it would be forced to delay the park’s opening day due to cuts. There was lots of confusion and little communication, but now there is more clarity as to how the cuts were handed down.

“We had a mandate to look for a certain percentage of cuts,” said Yellowstone National Park Spokesman Al Nash. “The director of the National Park Service went to each park, like Yellowstone and Glacier, and asked us to look at our own operations and make recommendations on ways that we could deal with a 5 percent budget cut over the remaining seven months of the fiscal year.”

Al Nash:

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Nash expressed some regret over the way the cuts were handled, “Frankly, having to look at a cut on short notice at this point in the fiscal year meant that we made some decisions that we might have made differently given different circumstances.”

Though the budget is still under discussion. Nash spoke freely about cuts already agreed to.

“While we have yet to work out all of the specifics, the things we know we are going to do include delaying opening of the roads by one or two weeks,” Nash said. “We’re going to leave positions open and not refill them. We will hire some summer seasonal employees, but we’re not going to hire as many as we would under normal circumstances. Some of those people will work shorter years. As we look at other expenditures like travel or sending people to training we’re going to reduce that kind of spending. All in all, we had to find about one and three quarter million dollars to cut over the next seven months.”

The specifically mentioned cuts are already in the process of being carried out. The most eminent example of this is the seasonal snowplowing of Yellowstone’s roads. Traditionally Yellowstone Park would begin plowing roads for opening day during the first weekend of March. Plowing is now scheduled to begin on March 18th.

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