Congress locks in park closures until October

Congress has passed, and President Obama is expected to sign, a bill to keep the government open and running through September 2013.

However, the bill keeps the devastating cuts to parks, wildlife refuges, and other wild lands that are part of the “sequestration”

These cuts are already being felt across the country. Towns outside of Yellowstone National Park have had to resort to essentially passing a hat in order to plow a road to the park normally maintained by the National Park Service.

The trim on the budget is cutting into the iconic Blue Ridge Parkway as well. Campgrounds, visitor centers, and picnic areas throughout the length of the Parkway have already been closed or face delayed openings.

In California, the cuts could have a more severe impact on lands and communities – the Forest Service is turning to local non-profit groups and others to help restore areas scorched by the 2009 Station Fire north of Los Angeles.

These budget cuts will continue to hamstring conservation and outdoor recreation for the foreseeable future. The Wilderness Society is working the halls of Congress to ensure that these cuts are restored, and America’s wild lands stay open to everyone.