Budget cuts could impact state part operations

SHERIDAN — Heading into the 2013 summer season, the Division of State Parks, Historic Sites and Trails wishes to inform the public of the impact of recent budget reductions on parks operations.
There will be fewer seasonal employees hired at some state parks and historic sites and visitors may see taller grass and other impacts of less frequent maintenance and grounds keeping.

In addition, some sites will have limited management during the summer. Fort Fetterman State Historic Site northwest of Douglas will be open to the public, but the museum and restrooms will be closed with no water available. Independence Rock west of Casper, Hawk Springs Recreation Area south of Torrington and Medicine Lodge State Archaeological Site outside Hyattville will have noticeable landscaping and maintenance reductions. The Fort Fred Steele State Historic Site east of Rawlins will open the middle of June, two weeks later than normal.

To lessen the impact on customers, the division has been able to find some help from many people, including some local ranchers near Hawk Springs, who will undertake chores normally accomplished by seasonal employees.

“We have tried to keep impacts to a minimum and prioritized our budget cuts based on our mission. We want visitors to know that we are open and that we want them to come and enjoy the great recreational and cultural experiences we have to offer. We will continue to look for options to minimize impacts and we appreciate the many volunteers and partners who have stepped forward to help keep these areas functioning at the high level our visitors have come to expect,” Parks administrator Domenic Bravo said.

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