Among the agencies that could see significant budget cuts is the National Park Service. That could have a serious impact on some of the area’s most iconic locations.
The Park Service is taking the possibility of sequestration very seriously and released a statement Tuesday saying the public should be prepared for reduced hours and services, and reduced hours of operations at many popular locations.
Storm clouds that moved over Great Falls Tuesday were perhaps an omen of dark days ahead for the national park with the possibility of looming budget cuts in the air.
Great Falls is part of John Morris’ daily routine.
“That would be really sad for someone like me who loves just to walk around in nature,” he says.
Sequestration, the massive budget cuts that go into effect in 10 days, calls for the reduction of more than $100 million in funding for the National Parks Service. The impact will be felt particularly hard in Washington D.C.’s national parks land. The budget to maintain very popular tourist destinations would be cut $1.6 million.
“Peoples’ jobs at stake and livelihoods, the county needs this. It’s for the tourists,” says Barry Cole.
And with the cherry blossoms just about one month from budding, the potential cuts couldn’t come at a worse time. Organizers of the Cherry Blossom Festival that the cuts, 20 days before kickoff, could impact some of the tree maintenance, law enforcement, and other park services needed for the three-week event.
But not everyone feels badly about the pending cuts.
“I can see as a nation spending money on the monuments, but I think the bulk of our national parks are probably better off in private hands or state hands,” says Mike Dolan.
It’s an unwelcome prospect for many of those, like Morris, who u se the hundreds of other national parks.
“Lord have mercy, it’s coming,” he says.