HARKER'S ISLAND - Visitors to Cape Lookout National Seashore won't be able to book climbs up the lighthouse due to sequestration. It's just one of several affects the park is facing because of across the board budget cuts.
Sequestration required the park to reduce its annual budget by 5%. $123,417 was reduced from the park's budget of $2,468,348.
Three positions have been eliminated from the park. Those positions were currently unfilled so no one lost their jobs. However, two of the positions are seasonal. Superintendent Patrick Kenney of the National Seashore said those positions were important to tourist relations.
"Three people may not sound like a lot of staff, but they do provide critical services for us," Kenney said. "You're never happy to have to reduce services to the public. We're in the business of providing for public enjoyment."
The Harker's Island Visitor's Center will also be closed on weekends. The reduced operations took effect March 31.
Though the lighthouse no longer takes reservations, people can still climb the tower on a first come first serve basis.
"Especially since it came late in the fiscal year, we basically have 6 months to absorb that 5% cut," Kenney said.
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