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Contact: Faye Walmsley, 573-323-4844
Van Buren, MO- The public should be prepared for reduced hours and services provided by Ozark National Scenic Riverways employees due to Government budget cuts. "We want to inform the public of these potential impacts as they make their vacation plans," states Superintendent Bill Black.
With the loss of $326,681 in funding, planning includes eliminating some interpretive programs, evening campfire programs at Round Spring and Pulltite, and Round Spring Cave tours. The Big Spring Campground will be open in the summer months, but is planned to be closed the rest of the year. Trash collection, water service, and restroom janitorial services are prepared to be eliminated or curtailed for all of the smaller campgrounds. As of this time, Heritage Day, Alley Spring Independence Day Celebration, Ozark Dinner Theater, and Haunting in the Hills events are cancelled. Potential impacts for Law Enforcement Rangers include having fewer supplies and materials to meet minimum needs. A planned 75% reduction in natural and cultural resource conditions monitoring could impact compliance requirements and project deadlines.
The park recognizes that local communities and businesses rely on the park's recreational opportunities to support their livelihoods. The park's planning efforts attempt to lessen the impacts. A 2011 peer-review spending analysis of Ozark National Scenic Riverways done by Michigan State University for the National Park Service showed that 1,365,960 visitors spent $65,280,000 in and around the park and local communities. That supported 861 local jobs. Most visitor spending supported jobs in lodging, food, and beverage service (63%) followed by recreation and entertainment (17%), other retail (11%), transportation and fuel (7%), and wholesale and manufacturing (2%). To download the report, visit http://www.nature.nps.gov/socialscience/products.cfm#MGM and click on Economic Benefits to Local Communities from National Park Visitation and Payroll, 2011.
For more information, phone (573) 323-4852 during business hours Monday through Friday 8:00 am to 4:30 pm or visit the park's website at www.nps.gov/ozar. Ozark National Scenic Riverways preserves the free-flowing Current and Jacks Fork Rivers, the surrounding natural resources, and the unique cultural heritage of the Ozark people.