What Sequestration Means for Hikers
The fiscal stand-off in Washington, DC could lead to the government - and national parks - shutting down. Photo by Dawn Parzych.
Last week, when our elected officials in Washington, D.C. decided not to act on a "sequestration" deadline, they set in motion a set of fiscal cutbacks that could dramatically impact hiking and other recreation on federal lands. Seasonal hiring for the backcountry, trail work, reduced hours and even closures are at stake in this latest showdown.
Three scenarios: shut down, sequestration or status quo
The latest deadline is now March 27. On that day, one of three things will happen:
- Congress does nothing, and the federal government shuts down. As in 1995, when a showdown between the Clinton administration and Congress resulted in a government shutdown, that would mean that many essential services of government would be shuttered, including National Parks, National Wildlife Refuges, National Forest ranger stations and more.
- Congress passes a continuing resolution that includes sequestration cuts. These are automatic across-the-board spending cuts of up to five percent. They would likely mean that land management agencies would not be able to hire essential summer-season staff (wilderness rangers, backcountry trail crews, visitor center employees, etc.) and may have to reduce hours or in some cases close visitor services, campgrounds or other facilities.
- Congress passes a continuing resolution at current levels, which means status quo funding. By kicking the can down the proverbial curb, drastic cuts would be averted for now, but the underlying issue would simply be put off once again.
Ask Congress to preserve your public lands
If you don't want to see the devastating impacts of a government shutdown or sequestration cuts, please contact your U.S. Senators and U.S. Representative with an email, phone call (see tips) or letter. Let them know how important public lands and recreation are to Washington's hikers. Ask them to preserve critical funding for our National Forests, National Parks and National Wildlife Refuges.
Tips: Calling Elected Officials
- Call the Capitol Switchboard at 202-225-3121.
- You'll most likely speak with a member of your official's staff.
- Identify yourself (tell them if you are a constituent) and why you are calling. Ex: As an avid hiker on all of Washington's federal public lands, I hope you can protect funding...
- Keep the call short and courteous.
- Remember to thank the staff member for his or her time.
Contact our Senators
Look up and contact your Representatives
Not sure who represents you? Look it up here.
>> Rep. Suzan DelBene [1st]
>> Rep. Rick Larsen [2nd]
>> Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler [3rd]
>> Rep. Doc Hastings [4th]
>> Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers [5th]
>> Rep. Derek Kilmer [6th]
>> Rep. Jim McDermott [7th]
>> Rep. David Reichert [8th]
>> Rep. Adam Smith [9th]
>> Rep. Denny Heck [10th]