Federal Budget Cuts Affecting National Park

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A popular tourist destination that attracts millions each year is closing two of its busiest sites.

Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area officials will also have a smaller seasonal staff, all thanks to federal budget cuts.

The busy summer tourist season is approaching and places in the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area usually see crowds.

Places like Milford Beach and Kittatinny Point Visitors Center.

However, starting April 10, that's changing.

Federal budget cuts are forcing park officials to close those two locations along the Delaware River.

"These two areas have been chosen to be closed because they cost us a lot of money to operate," said Kathleen Sandt, the Public Information Officer of the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area, and that's not all.

For example, Kittatinny Point Visitors Center, located less than a mile from the Monroe County line, park officials are also eliminating 17 seasonal positions.

This means trash won't be picked up as often, the restrooms will be closed and the park will also be reducing the amount of ranger training and overtime hours. In addition, maintenance duties of the park will also be cut back.

"These are the places where we spent a lot of money and that's where we're going to see our cost savings," said Sandt.

Kittatinny Point Visitor Center is one of two sites in the park that will permanently shut down due to federal budget cuts. Now the closures are also having a ripple effect because the access points for kayak and canoes here at this site will also close. Those businesses will then be affected.

"Milford's closing?" said Brandon Hodakoski, the Recreation Director at Shawnee Inn and Golf Resort.

Hodakoski is also a guide for the resort's canoe, kayak and rafting trips along the river.

He's isn't pleased about Milford Beach and Kittatinny Point Closing due to federal budget cuts.

"It's impact huge, we're going to have to alter all of our routes. Probably start higher up the river," said Hodakoski.

The cuts, which go into effect April 10, will save the federal government a half million dollars.