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National Parks Prepare for Cuts

By Emily Cassulo
By ecassulo@wbbjtv.com

SHILOH, Tenn. - Workers at one West Tennessee national park said they are concerned about the looming federal budget cuts March 1 and its possible effect on them.

Workers at the Shiloh National Military Park told WBBJ 7 Eyewitness News if these cuts happen, they will have to scale back their events substantially.

Chief Park Ranger Stacy Allen said it is all bad timing.

"So if it's a five percent cut, automatically it's a 10 percent cut, given it didn't occur at the start of the fiscal year, but occurs at the second half of the fiscal year," Allen said.

Fortunately, the Shiloh National Military Park will not have to shut down any daily operations, but rangers will have to reduce their travel on and off site.

"Being able to travel to the schools is of direct benefit to curriculum education within the community and it will be substantially impacted by the travel reductions imposed by the sequester," Allen said.

The other big cuts will go toward overtime and holiday pay, which hurts the park's big events that bring in many visitors, like their Memorial Day services and Shiloh anniversary events.

"With the requests that we cut those costs, that now is in complete jeopardy of even occuring," Allen said.

"So you think you may not even be able to have a Memorial Service?" asked reporter Emily Cassulo.

"That is within the realm of possibility that we will not have a Memorial Service in conjunction with the national cemetery here at Shiloh, and the confederate burial grounds."

Workers said the budget cuts will not just impact the park, but the local economy too.

"Both of those special events, as well as any other special events are immediately placed into serious jeopardy with the ability of the park to meet the definition of what is to be reduced and still provide services," Allen said.

He said at this point, there is no way to tell exactly what the overall impact will be from the cuts, but regardless, it will not be easy adjusting their budget.

Should the cuts happen, park officials said they will not likely know the exact impact of the federal cuts for another couple of weeks.