Memorial Day weekend marks the unofficial start of tourism season for the late-spring and summer seasons, with many people’s plans involving trips to national parks and Washington monuments.
Millions of Americans visit those sites during their summer vacations, but their trips could be affected in small and large ways this year by the government-wide spending cuts known as the sequester, which took effect in March.
Impacts of the cuts include shuttered exhibit areas at Smithsonian museums, a halt on White House tours, reduced hours at the National Archives, closings and reduced hours for visitors centers at certain national parks, and scaled-back summer programs for Rock Creek Park in D.C.
The U.S. Park Police, the only federal law enforcement agency to be furloughed under the sequester, received some positive news last week when it was revealed that its furloughs would end on June 1. The National Park Service announced that the agency had found alternative ways to meet its savings targets.
Nonetheless, that decision did not stave off staffing shortages through the Memorial Day holiday weekend as tourists flooded Washington to visit the nation’s capital and watch the Rolling Thunder motorcycle rally.
The U.S. Park Police patrols national park land in the urban parks of the Washington region, New York and San Francisco. About 350 officers are based in the Capitol region, with enforcement responsibility for tens of thousands of acres in the Washington region and 144 miles of roadway.
For those of our readers who are still making plans for summer vacation, the following graphic details cuts at large national parks, as well as D.C. monuments and museums. (A more extensive graphic with sequester-impact summaries is available here.)