Thursday, April 11, 2013

Forest Service cuts impact summer work force-more cuts to follow

GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado — An 18 percent budget cut for the White River National Forest this year will impact the seasonal work force at area campgrounds and along trails this summer, including the popular Hanging Lake area in Glenwood Canyon, Forest Service spokesman Bill Kight said Wednesday.

“We are looking at 18 positions that we had last year that we can't fill this year,” Kight said, confirming that the local forest has had to cut about $3 million from its $16 million annual budget.

The cuts are separate from the anticipated across-the-board budget cuts due to the federal sequestration that went into effect last month, he said.

Those cuts will also impact the U.S. Forest Service as a whole, including local forest offices. However, the exact impact of the sequester cuts on local forest operations are not yet known.

Meanwhile, the WRNF is working on ways to make people aware of the seasonal cuts that are known, Kight said of the non-sequester reductions.

“We will have to let people know that some of what they're used to seeing will not be up and running.”

One result is that there will not be forest rangers regularly patrolling the Hanging Lake area, he said.

That will present some difficulties in terms of enforcing the numerous restrictions for the area, which draws upwards of 80,000 visitors per year.


Link to full article from the Post Independent:


Matt's Rant: Expect some impact from budget cuts across the board this year in regards to outdoor areas in Colorado. Some management agencies will cut staff, services and even close recreational areas this year. It may be prudent to do a little research and\or call before making summer plans. Forest Service, CDOW-State Parks and even local agencies are scrambling to make budget-ends meet.

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