Sequestration: National parks in Cobb looking down barrel of fed deficit cuts
by Lindsay Field
April 30, 2013 12:16 AM | 2745 views | 3 3 comments | 8 8 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Robert Moon of Smryna, center, points to where his neighborhood is as he takes advantage of Monday’s clear skies to enjoy the panoramic views from atop Kennesaw Mountain with Lucy Patrick of Rome, his aunt Teresa Evans of Powder Springs, and her dad Amos Lowery of Smyrna.
Robert Moon of Smryna, center, points to where his neighborhood is as he takes advantage of Monday’s clear skies to enjoy the panoramic views from atop Kennesaw Mountain with Lucy Patrick of Rome, his aunt Teresa Evans of Powder Springs, and her dad Amos Lowery of Smyrna.
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Jerry Key of Kennesaw has been coming to the National Parks Service's Kennesaw National Battlefield Park for more than 30 years for various events including biking to the top three times a week. But affects from the federal sequestration across the board budget cuts will silence some of the cannons at the park as well as silencing a few lawnmowers.
Jerry Key of Kennesaw has been coming to the National Parks Service's Kennesaw National Battlefield Park for more than 30 years for various events including biking to the top three times a week. But affects from the federal sequestration across the board budget cuts will silence some of the cannons at the park as well as silencing a few lawnmowers.
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MARIETTA — Heading into the busy summer season, national parks in Cobb are doing what they can to lessen the impact of sequestration on visitors, but that doesn’t mean there won’t be a few inconveniences. Nancy Walther, superintendent at Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park, said her staff is working with $83,000 in federal budget cuts. She said they are looking to resolve that by hiring two fewer summer employees, cutting travel and grounds maintenance like mowing, not renewing the cellphone tour contract for visitors and reducing some of their summer programs, including the cannon artillery and military living history demonstrations. “(The sequestration) is definitely affecting us,” Walther said. “We normally hire a few seasonal workers for the summer, and we’re going to be down two. We usually are up to six.” But there will be no cuts in the park’s hours of operation. The battlefield grounds and parking lots will remain open 7:30 a.m. to 8 p.m., the visitor center from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. and the mountain road from 8:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.

Fewer trash cans, more wild flowers

The Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area, which covers about 9 miles of parks and trails in Cobb including Sope Creek Falls, Johnson Ferry North, Cochran Shoals and Paces Mill, is looking at more than $166,000 in cuts. Rudy Evenson, the park spokesman, said they are reducing the number of trash cans throughout the areas and trails, as well as three seasonal workers. They will also do less grounds maintenance like mowing, and they will close the Powers Island store across from the Cochran Shoals fitness loop this summer. Removing the trash cans will save about $76,000 throughout the park in metro Atlanta. “The thing that people will probably notice the most is the mowing,” Evenson said. “The result of that is that we’ll have more wildflower meadows so you can see some really pretty flowers right now, but as the summer goes by, it might look a little shaggy sometimes.” Evenson said it won’t affect the opening and closing times, and they don’t expect to cut any program funding. “We are putting visitors first, and we didn’t make any cuts that would affect safety on the river, access on the river and we really did our best to focus on things that would not affect our rivers in an adverse way,” he said.

Economic impact on Cobb is huge

Walther was not sure exactly what type of economic impact these cuts might have on the park’s future or the Cobb community, but said they typically have about 1.9 million visitors per year. According to a release from the National Park Service, there was approximately $59.9 million spent in the area by park visitors in 2011, and 724 local jobs were supported by the park’s being open. Evenson said the Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area brought in an estimated $102 million in the metro Atlanta area in 2012, supporting 1,185 jobs for the 48 miles of parks. “We know that the economic benefit will be lessened by the direct effect of three fewer seasonal maintenance jobs this summer, but how that translates into the final effect, I would not be able to say,” he said. There are approximately 3.2 million total visitors to the riverside parks annually. Visitor spending supports jobs in lodging, food and beverage services, recreation and entertainment, other retail, transportation and fuel and wholesale and manufacturing. Nationally, a report done by Michigan State University indicated that $13 billion in direct visitors’ spending was made in 2011 from the estimated 279 million visitors in communities within 60 miles of a national park. It impacted the economy nationally by about $30 billion and supported about 252,000 jobs. To learn more about the national parks of Georgia, visit nps.gov/Georgia
Comments
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Just Sayin'....
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April 30, 2013
re GoodScout - While I appreciate your sarcasm, and agree with you in general, please do not stoop to using war dead as a butt of your joke. It is tasteless and crass.
GoodScout
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April 30, 2013
Go all the way, Cobb! If you truly are the anti-government haven all good Republicans dream of, push to dismantle Kennesaw Mountain National Park! Sell it off to the highest bidder! Let the private sector run it! Six Flags Over Dead Confederates! It'll be great. If you truly believe your flat-earth economic crap, I challenge you to get Saxby and Johnny to submit the bill in Congress TODAY!
Oh Brother!!!
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April 30, 2013
They aren't budget cuts... but decreases in the increases!!!

We as taxpayers are still paying MORE!
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