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Contact: Vickie Carson, 270-758-2192
MAMMOTH CAVE, Ky. - Superintendent Sarah Craighead announced today that Mammoth Cave National Park is implementing a five percent cut in its annual budget, in accordance with NPS Director Jon Jarvis' sequestration instructions. The Park will absorb the cut in the next seven months. The Park's annual budget is $6.3 million; five percent = $316,000.
"At this time we estimate that Mammoth Cave's budget cuts will affect about 38,000 visitors," said Craighead. "The Park management staff have analyzed the park budget, and weighed services that are offered against the number of visitors who are served. We will put our best efforts into serving the greatest number of visitors that we can."
Specific to Director Jarvis' instructions, Mammoth Cave National Park will
· not fill four permanent positions - one law enforcement ranger, one electrician, one maintenance projects coordinator, one chief of interpretation.
· cut all travel and training, except that required for a person to do their job, as well as overtime and supplies.
· cut eleven seasonal positions from the guide staff, maintenance, and rangers. Mammoth Cave usually hires 60-70 summer seasonals each year.
The Park relies heavily on seasonal employees in the summer months, when most visitors come to Mammoth Cave.
The following bullets describe the effects of the cuts listed above:
· The Houchin Ferry and Houchin Ferry Campground are closed now and will not open for the season. The ferry boat will be "parked" on the north bank to keep the south bank clear for boat launch and canoe use. The picnic area will remain open, but the area around it will not be mowed and grass will most likely grow tall over the summer months. In a year's time, about 10,000 vehicles use Houchin Ferry to cross Green River.
· The Park is planning to offer fewer cave tours and fewer choices of tours; high volume tours will have priority and lower volume tours will most likely be cut. About 28,000 people will not be able to visit Mammoth Cave.
· Fewer rangers will be available in the main campground to assist visitors.
Mammoth Cave National Park has a sizeable effect on the quality of life in the caveland region. In 2011, the Park's 500,000 annual visitors spend $33.5 million in the park and the surrounding area. Visitor spending supports 508 jobs.