The across-the-board federal budget cuts known as sequestration are hitting the Homestead National Monument of America.
Superintendent Mark Engler says the 5% cuts will mean staff reductions, fewer programs and curtailed hours this year at the monument west of Beatrice.
“To help offset that though, we’ve been very fortunate where we’ve had people step forward and volunteer for us,” Engler says. “We’ve had different groups that have provided us grants, so we’re very grateful for those individuals and groups that have helped us maintain programs.”
Homestead’s budget has already been cut 18% since 2008. Now, Engler says, they won’t be hiring staff for youth programs and they’ll cut back on seasonal and temporary ranger positions.
“We will, for the most part, not be able to provide our hourly ranger programs, just because we will not have the staff,” Engler says, while the Summer Campfire Series will be axed as well.
There likely won’t be staff for a prescribed burn, while the monument’s winter hours will be kept year-round. Engler hopes the monument will be able to restore some programs in the 2014 federal fiscal year.
By Doug Kennedy, KWBE, Beatrice