I appreciated The Post’s March 11 front-page article “At Yellowstone, a geyser of discontent ,” which highlighted the dilemma facing those who manage Yellowstone National Park and the 397 other national parks because of the harmful effects of “sequestration.” As the federal budget process breaks down, park managers and other public servants are left to do the best they can with a bad situation that is not of their making.
It should shock no one that the decisions park officials must make as a result of diminished funds are difficult and have unpleasant effects. As someone who managed several national parks, I can tell you that cuts halfway through the fiscal year are, in practical terms, more like a 10 percent decrease than one of 5 percent. And they come on top of a $600 million annual shortfall and the erosion of funding in recent years. Any businessperson knows that midyear, across-the-board budget cuts are more difficult to make than are those you can plan for a year out.
Instead of complaining about the decisions that park managers have to make because Congress failed to do its job, Wyoming’s congressional delegation and the rest of Congress should provide the predictable funding that park managers need to do theirs.
Maureen Finnerty, Haymarket
The writer is chair of the Coalition of National Park Service Retirees.