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Cape Cod National Seashore Sequestration and the 2013 Summer Season

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Date: April 5, 2013
Contact: George Price, Superintendent, 508-771-2144

Cape Cod National Seashore Superintendent George Price has announced that the 2013 summer program has been finalized with the incorporation of a $376,000 reduction to Cape Cod National Seashore budget from sequestration. The seashore sequestration plan included significant cuts to visitor services, including a complete closure of the Province Lands Visitor Center; elimination of most interpretive and educational programs, fewer biological technicians to monitor critical resources, and reduced custodial services. The good news is that a recent donation from Friends of the Cape Cod National Seashore will allow the Province Lands Visitor Center to be open seven days a week from Memorial Day weekend until Labor Day (Saturday, May 25, 2013 - Monday, September 2, 2013).This donation will cover staffing for basic information, orientation, and visitor safety rather than a comprehensive visitor services program.It does not include 83 days of the shoulder seasons that generally run from May 1 - October 31, but the facility will be available during the height of the summer season.Price said, "We are very grateful to the Friends of the Cape Cod National Seashore for their generosity and willingness to once again come to the assistance of the seashore in order to support the mission of protecting resources and serving visitors."

Visitors will also be able to visit the Salt Pond Visitor, Eastham, MA, which will remain open seven days a week; enjoy the six life-guarded beaches (which are supported by parking fees); gain access to the Off Road Vehicle Corridor with the exception of closures for shore bird protection (supported by ORV pass fees); and visit our partner and concessioner facilities, such as the Highland Light, Highland House Museum, Highland Links, Nauset Light and Nauset Knoll Motor Lodge, according to their respective schedules.In addition, services provided by volunteers (including many from Friends), at the historic Captain Penniman House and Three Sisters Lighthouses, Eastham, and Old Harbor Life-Saving Station, Provincetown, will continue. According to Price, "A park the size of Cape Cod has a complex operation and intense use. Our staff has worked diligently to piece together a modest program within the budget constraints. We're happy to say that some of our signature programs, such as the Life Saving Drill at Old Harbor, which relies on permanent staff and volunteers, and canoe trips in Salt Pond that are funded by use fees have survived the cuts this year. And volunteers have come forward to assist with critical resource projects."

The numbers and variety of interpretive programs this summer will be significantly reduced. Examples of eliminated programs include nature walks at locations like Nauset Marsh and Fort Hill; snorkeling in a kettle pond; beach campfires; beach yoga; the Provincetown tour; bird walks; shellfishing demonstrations; wading programs; extended hikes in Truro and Provincetown; and children's programs. Traditionally these ranger-guided activities serve over 49,000 visitors each year.

Additional sequestration cuts include reduced personnel of the natural resource management, maintenance and facility management, and resource and visitor protection divisions.A number of vacancies due to retirements and transfers will remain unfilled.Schedules and priorities will have to be altered, but most impacts will not be obvious to the visiting public. Please check seashore web site at www.nps.gov/caco or our seashore newspaper for current listings of programs and hours.

Thanks to our partners, volunteers, seashore staff, and supporters we know that seashore visitors will still be able to experience miles of beautiful beaches, tranquil upland trails, endless vistas, glimpses of whales, amazing night skies, and family experiences that will last a lifetime.

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Did You Know?

cranberry bog at harvest time

The word “cranberry” originated as a contraction of crane berry, a name given to the plant by early settlers because the flower resembles the head of a crane.