National Park Budget Cuts Concern Local Residents
KREX News Room
COLORADO NATIONAL MONUMENT - Local residents gathered at the east entrance of the Colorado National Monument today to show their concern about national park budget cuts.
The 5.1% cuts to the National Park Service are a result of the sequester that went into effect today.
Park hours could be reduced, and several full-time employees will likely be furloughed.
Among those who could be affected include safety personnel, and as a result, some hiking trails and campgrounds could be closed.
People from around the Grand Valley came together to express their concerns.
"With the budget cuts, having to see a place like this essentially fall into disrepair because there won't be enough staff to take care of it and make sure that it's protected is really a sad thing to see," said CMU student Chani Capps.
Sam Kraus organized the gathering in order to display how crucial national parks are to their surrounding communities.
"It's just astounding in my eyes that we can afford to close these when we have such breath-taking natural beauty that we should be able to keep as accessible as possible to the American public," said Kraus.
Secretary of the Interior, Ken Salazar, says some facilities and services could close at parks nationwide.
In a recent report released by the National Park Service, $30.1 billion were spent on national parks in 2011 by nearly 282 million Americans.
The report also showed that the National Park Service emplyed over 250,000 people in 2011.