Posted: Mar 18, 2013 4:11 PM by Chet Layman
Updated: Mar 19, 2013 7:05 AM
YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK - White House tours have been cancelled and Yellowstone National Park's roads will be plowed a little late this year. Those are just two effects of sequestration.
Yellowstone will open later thanks to sequestration. As long as that continues, Yellowstone could face other cuts.
Park Superintendent Dan Wenk talked about what is in store for the park next year and specifically next winter.
"When I was asked, would I consider closing the winter in the future? My answer was, ‘yes.' Just as I would consider closing in October, just as I would consider closing the back country just as I would consider closing, you know, every aspect of Yellowstone National Park has to be looked at if the sequestration continues, which it looks like it will and our budgets continue on the decline. Everything is on the table," Wenk said. "Certainly, do I want that to happen or do I think it's going to happen? I sure hope not. Just as I don't want or hope anything else happens that's going to affect the visitor experience while they're in Yellowstone."
For business owners in gateway communities like Gardiner, not knowing is the hardest part.
"The decision itself is probably less important than the indecision," Richard Parks of Parks' Fly Shop said.
As the budget battle continues in Washington D.C., what's facing government agencies is what's going to happen next budget cycle.
"In a perverse sort of way that might actually be good for Gardiner. Fewer open motel rooms in Mammoth means more opportunity to sell rooms in Gardiner," Parks said.
"Winter use costs us over $55 a visitor. Summer use costs us less than $10 a visitor. If I was a business, would I be open in the winter? That's where the question came from," Wenk said.
Communities like West Yellowstone would feel a much greater impact.
Wenk also notes that next year Yellowstone would have a full year to implement the cuts as opposed to these six months into a budget year.