Sequestration 2013: Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park Staff, Hours and Programs Cut
Sequestration's effects announced on operations at Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park.
Sequestration has impacted one of Fredericksburg's biggest tourism draws.
Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park announced staff, program and schedule cuts. "The five percent reduction to the FY 2013 (Oct. 2012 - Sept. 2013) budget due to sequestration comes on the heels of a five percent reduction in operating funds over the last five years," Russ Smith, Fredericksburg Battlefield National Park Service superintendent, said.
The National Military Park will take the following steps in the order listed to implement cuts mandated by sequestration, he said.
- Vacant permanent positions will not be filled. The park currently has 11 positions vacant or about to be vacated, about 25 percent of its authorized workforce.
- All non-essential spending (supplies, travel, training) will be stopped.
- Seasonal/temporary positions will not be filled.
The park is dependent on a number of seasonal/temporary positions to provide basic services throughout the year, Smith said. Because of their loss, the following schedule will go into effect on March 6:
Fredericksburg Battlefield Visitor Center: Open 7 days, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Chatham: Open Monday-Saturday, 9 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. Closed Sundays.
Chancellorsville Visitor Center: Open Thursday – Tuesday, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. Closed Wednesdays.
Stonewall Jackson Shrine: Open weekends only, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.
"As we move forward into spring and summer, when the park normally would be expanding hours and programming, the contrast with normal operations will become more dramatic," Smith said.
Projected Spring & Summertime Impacts on Programs & Services
At the summer peak, the park typically operates four buildings -- Fredericksburg Visitor Center, Chancellorsville Visitor Center, Jackson Shrine and Chatham -- and two exhibit shelters at Wilderness and Spotsylvania seven days per week. The lack of summer seasonals will cut the summer workforce in half. Under the projected budget, the following additional effects will occur:
- Exhibit shelters at Wilderness and Spotsylvania Court House battlefields will not be staffed.
- School programs will be limited.
- Ranger-led talks and tours will be severely cut.
- The Friday evening “History at Sunset” tours will be cancelled.
In addition, programming for the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Chancellorsville will be limited, Smith said. Details about those cuts will be announced separately, he said.
Projected Operational Impacts
There will also be severe reductions in mowing and maintenance schedules park-wide, Smith said. The National Cemetery will, for example, be mowed only monthly rather than every ten days. There will also be reduced custodial services in all buildings, and severely reduce environmental monitoring, including the park's controlled burn program and control of invasive species.
For more on sequestration, see:
Find Fredericksburg Patch via: