Fiscal cliff discussions force contingency plan for Monument

Scotts Bluff National Monument Superintendent Ken Mabery says he and others with the National Park Service have contingency plans in place in case the "fiscal cliff" discussions in Washington break down. Mabery says it is nothing unusual for the National Park Service to deal with less money and personnel, because they hace dealt with less budget cuts over the last three years.

Should Congress fail to reach a deal, an 8.2 percent cut from the National Park Service budget would take effect in January. The Park Service would lose almost $212 million from the agency's $2.58 billion budget.

Mabery says despite the reduced resources to serve people, visitation has remained steady and even increased a little. He says 125-130,000 people are expected to visit the Monument in this calendar year.

Mabery says it shows people need a break from everyday living to visit "open spaces". He says the economy is also forcing people to take shorter vacations that include visits to the Scotts Bluff National Monument rather than long trips to Yellowstone National Park.

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