Officials in the National Park Service are telling staff to cancel special events and other services that will make the sequester cuts more apparent to the millions of Americans who visit any of the 84 million acres managed by federal tax money, according to a park ranger.
“Apparently, they want the public to feel the pain,” explained the park ranger to Fox News
on the condition that he not be identified.
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The National Park Service has warned that the sequester cuts, which recently took effect, would delay access to parts of Yellowstone and Yosemite national parks, close campgrounds at the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and much more.
The NPS is facing an across-the-board cut of 5 percent, part of the $85 billion in cuts coming from Congress' inability to avert the sequester.
Republicans have accused the Obama administration of attempting to exaggerate the impact of the cuts.
The ranger was familiar with NPS operations in only one region of the country and could not say if the same guidance was being disseminated throughout the entire government agency.
An NPS spokesman told Fox that he’s “never heard of guidance given like that."
The spokesman said the Park Service is absorbing the cuts over the next seven months, and the agency will be forced to cut back on seasonal employees, which could impact some interpretive programs and public events. However, he denied efforts were being made to make the cuts more visible.
The national park system comprises 398 areas covering more than 84 million acres in every state (except Delaware), the District of Columbia, American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands. These areas include national parks, monuments, battlefields, military parks, historical parks, historic sites, lakeshores, seashores, recreation areas, scenic rivers and trails, and the White House.
Memos from National Park Service Director Jonathan Jarvis, however, appear to show that the agency is putting an emphasis on explaining the cuts. He also railed against the "senseless, across-the-board budget cuts."
In 2011 some 278,939,216 people visited one of the sites operated by the National Park Service.
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