Saguaro sequester squeeze goes into effect
Reporter: Greg Gurule
TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - The Federal Sequester is squeezing a popular tourist destination in Tucson, the Saguaro National Park. The park is home to some of the Sonoran Desert's most impressive attractions including Saguaro Cactus and a variety of desert wildlife.
Park tourism pumps nearly $22 million a year into the area's economy and draws upwards of 610,000 visitors yearly.
Federal budget tightening under The Sequester will pull $180,000 out of the park's budget over the next seven months of the fiscal year. That will trigger cutbacks in services to sight-seers according to park administrators. The cuts will also mean the park will not be able to hire a permanent District Ranger for the East side. That position is responsible for overseeing law enforcement, search and rescue and wildfire watch efforts in the park's back country.
Administrators also say the Federal belt tightening will also force a pull-back in efforts to control Buffelgrass, which is fast and hot burning and can create a hazard not only to the park and its structures, but to nearby homes as well.
Saguaro National Park officials say the facility remains open and encourage sight seers to visit.