March 26, 2013
Contact: Wouter Ketel
, 252-728-2250 ext. 3005
HARKERS ISLAND, NC - Effective March 1, 2013, Cape Lookout National Seashore 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 remainder of this fiscal year that ends September 30. The federal law imposing sequestration requires that each park make this cut.
For Cape Lookout National Seashore, this amounts to a $123,417 reduction from a budget of $2,468,348. The park cut travel, training, overtime and supply purchases and reduced the number of seasonal and permanent employee positions to meet the required spending reduction. 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. "We recognize that these decisions will have impacts on the visitors to the park, but they could not be avoided with the reduction in the budget," states Superintendent Pat Kenney. Following are the major actions being taken in response to this budget cut:
Staffing (Note: 84% percent of the park's budget pays for salaries and fixed costs like utilities)
- Unfilled Permanent Positions:
- One Administrative Support Assistant- this full-time position provides support to the park staff in human resource management, purchasing of supplies and materials, contracting of services and general office support. These duties will have to be absorbed by other staff within the park.
- Unfilled Seasonal Positions:
- One Park Ranger in Interpretation and Education Division- this position develops and presents educational programs, develops exhibits, responds to correspondence and works in park visitor centers.
- One Visitor Use Assistant that was planned to take reservations for climbing the lighthouse.
Park Operations: Reduced staffing will reduce park operations in the following ways:
- The Harkers Island Visitor Center will be closed on weekends beginning on Sunday, March 31, 2013, until further notice.
- The Core Sound Waterfowl Museum and Heritage Center located on park land adjacent to the visitor center will be open on Saturdays, from 10:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m., and Sundays, from 2:00 p.m. until 5:00 p.m.
- The Light Station Visitor Center and Keepers' Quarters Museum at the Cape Lookout Lighthouse will be open 7 days per week, from 9:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. from March until October.
- Ranger-led interpretive programs offered at the Harkers Island Visitor Center on weekends will be discontinued beginning Sunday, March 31.
- Ranger-led interpretive programs offered at the Cape Lookout Lighthouse, typically during the summer, from mid-May to mid-September, will be discontinued.
- Ticket reservations, available in previous years for climbing the Cape Lookout Lighthouse will be discontinued. Tickets will be available at the Light Station Visitor Center, near the lighthouse, on a first come, first served basis.
- Printing of 30,000 copies of the Seashore newspaper and about 20,000 copies of over 14 information bulletins will be eliminated.
- The newspaper and bulletins will be available in digital format on the park's website.
- Installation of replacement road signs along Route 70, Route 12, and Highway 101 that direct visitors to five Seashore departure sites in Carteret County will be delayed.