Effects of sequestration on Acadia National Park
Bar Harbor, Maine -- Effective March 1, 2013, Acadia National Park was required by "sequestration" (a series of automatic, across-the-board permanent spending cuts) to reduce its annual budget by five percent.The park must absorb that cut in the remaining seven months of this fiscal year that ends September 30.The federal law imposing sequestration requires that each park take this cut.
For Acadia National Park this amounts to a $390,000 reduction from a budget of $7,807,000. The reduction imposed by sequestration is in addition to budget reductions realized in 2011 and 2012. To compensate for the decreased funding in 2011 and 2012, the park has reduced spending fortravel, training, overtime and supply purchases. Additionally the park reduced the number of permanent employees, which left few options to compensate for the 2013 budget cuts. The only remaining alternative to achieve the 5% sequester cut is to reduce the level of visitor services that can be delivered this year.
While we take the actions necessary to comply with sequestration, the park remains open, welcoming visitors and continuing to protect the resources entrusted to our care.
Following are the major actions being taken to implement the cut:
Staffing:Approximately 95 per cent of the park's budget pays for salaries and fixed costs like utilities.
·Five permanent positions will remain vacant this fiscal year; these five positions are in addition to 18 permanent positions not filled in previous years.
·12 seasonal positions will not be hired this year and 32 seasonal positions will have their appointments reduced between two and six weeks each.
Park Operations: Reduced staffing will affect park operations in the following ways:
·The Park will extend the winter closure of park facilities for one month. Typically, the Park Loop Road and the Hulls Cove Visitor Center open on April 15.This year the Park Loop Road, including the Cadillac Summit Road, will not open until May 17. Hulls Cove Visitor Center will open on May 19. The Sieur de Monts Nature Center will not open until May 25.
·The number of free ranger led programs will be reduced by 30 programs/week. Programs for which a fee is charged will continue unchanged from 2012 levels.
·Seasonal staffing will be reduced across all operations.In addition to fewer numbers of seasonal employees hired many other seasonal employees will work a shorter season. That means there will be fewer employees to provide visitor services and operate and maintain park facilities. As a result there will be reduced hours of operation at the visitor center and Islesford Historical Museum; fewer school education programs; and fewer rangers to respond to emergencies, to provide visitor services, and to answer visitor questions.
The above reductions were not easy to make and great consideration was given to minimizing the impact on the public and maintaining mission critical programs. The direct impact to park visitors will be much less by opening facilities later in the season as compared to the alternative of closing facilities earlier in the fall.Visitation in April and May is approximately 220,000 visitors while visitation in September and October is 650,000.
About the National Park Service. More than 20,000 National Park Service employees care for America's 398 national parks and work with communities across the nation to help preserve local history and create close-to-home recreational opportunities. Learn more at www.nps.gov.