Worst case scenario, the fiscal cliff sequester could mean an 8.3 percent cut in national park budgets, meaning about 9,000 seasonal park rangers -- the backbone of search and rescue operations -- may not be hired next year, the Coalition of National Park Service Retirees announced.
That NPS budget cut totals nearly $190 million, including about $150 million for seasonal rangers and other employees nationwide in 2013.
"Small parks could actually close if they don't have a way to maintain infrastructure or serve visitors," said coalition spokeswoman Joan Anzelmo, former superintendent of Colorado National Monument near Grand Junction. "We're talking about dozens and dozens of campgrounds, trails, trails maintenance, building infrastructure maintenance -- there is just very little wiggle room. Some parks might close. Popular facilities might have to close."
That could include visitor centers, emergency services and other services park visitors have come to expect when they visit a national park.
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