The nine U.S. National Park Service sites across are Ohio are feeling the sting of federal budget cuts.
The sites are trying to determine how to trim the budgets without ruining the experiences of hundreds of thousands of tourists who visit every year. Some are reducing staff, consolidating management or closing on Sundays.
When the federal government cut $34,440 out of its budget for the remainder of the fiscal year, leaders at the James A. Garfield National Historic Site in Mentor, east of Cleveland, decided to close the park on Sundays — one of the busiest days of the week.
The site also will close on Mondays and federal holidays, will reduce hours for permanent part-time staff, won’t hire seasonal staff and will cancel some special events while scaling back others.
The National Park Service sites in Ohio attracted more than 2.6 million visitors in 2012.
In Dayton, budget cuts have led to the superintendent of the Dayton Aviation Heritage Site to also take over leadership of the Hopewell Mound Site in Chillicothe.
“They are going to have share me for awhile,” Dean Alexander told The Dayton Daily News for a story Monday.
The Dayton site has a $2.1 million budget and will get roughly $100,000 less this fiscal year. Chillicothe, which receives $1.2 million a year, will face some $50,000 in cuts.
Similarly, the new national monument in Xenia dedicated to African-American soldier Charles Young will share a superintendent with Cincinnati’s William Howard Taft National Historic Site.
In northeast Ohio, the 33,000-acrea Cuyahoga Valley National Park has cut $600,000 from its $10 million budget. The green space along the Cuyahoga River between Cleveland and Akron is among the top 10 most visited national parks in the country. It hosted 2.2 million visitors during fiscal year 2012.
Among the areas being cut at the park are training, overtime, service contract, supply purchases, fleet vehicles and seasonal hires. The park will have 35 fewer seasonal staff going into the summer season, meaning fewer visitor-center hours, less trail maintenance and less mowing.