Sequestration to affect access to Mount Rainer National Park

Sequestration to affect access to Mount Rainer National Park
MOUNT RAINIER NATIONAL PARK -- The word sequestration sends shivers down the spine of anybody who's work depends on federal funding.

Effects of the stalemates in Washington D.C. are having a direct impact on one of "this" Washington's most beloved natural treasures.

No amount of governmental goofiness can shut down the sheer majesty of our lovely looming neighbor.

But it can chip away at our access to Mount Rainier National Park and that's exactly what's happened.

"Well we had a 5 percent budget cut this year due to sequestration and we had to make some hard choices," Patti Wold, a spokeswoman for Mount Rainier National Park, said.

The park has more than $600,000 less to work with this year than last year.

And they had $500,000 less to work with last year than they did in 2010.

"Well yeah, definitely we're feeling it," Wold said. "As you can see its reflected in our services that we're able to offer."

Something's gotta give.

And starting this Memorial Day weekend, it will.

"First time here, just visiting Washington for the first time," park visitor Nicole Barcan of San Francisco said.

Said Meghan Callaghan of New York: "We all can benefit from getting out of the city and getting into nature once in awhile. It's a shame. I hope we can come to a compromise to where people can enjoy these great beautiful parks."

The Ohanapecosh Visitor Center will remain closed this summer.

Ohanapecosh campground will close two weeks early, on September 29.

Cougar Rock campground will lose six weeks of its season.

The good news is that three of the four national park visitors centers: Paradise, Sunrise, and Longmeir, will be open all summer long like they always have.

Its still beautiful, still stunning, but one of best reasons to live around here just got a little bit tougher to enjoy.

And you wonder if it'll get better before it gets worse.

None of which will stop the Virginia Korean Hiking Club from enjoying Rainier.

"This is a beautiful place that we really enjoy," Max Kim said. "My own concern is can we be able to maintain the beautifulness of this with some sequesration problems."

Park rangers estimate that between 60,000 and 85,000 visitors will have their plans altered by the sequestration cuts this year.

"We're doing everything we can to respond as best we can, and do what we need for the people that come to the park," Wold said.