If Congress can't agree on a deficit-reduction plan soon, vacationers heading to the country's national parks this spring and summer could find reduced staffs, shorter visiting hours and even closings.
A January memo from the National Park Service states that nearly $110 million would have to be immediately eliminated from the park services' $2.2 billion budget due to sequestration — the mandated budget cuts scheduled to take place March 1.
Among the parks facing the most severe cuts are Yellowstone, Yosemite, the National Mall and Memorial Park in Washington, D.C., the Grand Canyon, the Everglades, the Great Smoky Mountains and Mount Rushmore.
On the chopping block for reduction or elimination are national park ranger jobs, maintenance crews and stores operated at visiting centers. Parks that remain open would have limited bathrooms facilities, fewer open trails and available camping spots. (Read more: Economy Adds Another 157,000 Jobs )
Nearly 300 million people visit the parks each year and generate some $31 billion in spending and help support around 258,000 related private sector jobs.
Reductions in the park budget will reduce those numbers as well, said Joan Anzelmo, spokesperson for the Coalition of National Park Service Retirees, a non-profit group of former park workers.Page 1 of 4 | Next Page