Will sequestration hurt Florida’s National Parks?

Barring a miracle, Friday will see the federal government go through something now being called “sequestration,” a series of across-the-board, indiscriminate cuts to federal programs.

Sequestration was never supposed to happen, though.  It was a time-bomb signed into law to force our government to come up with rational, meaningful reductions before March 1 – something that now seems unlikely to happen.

If nothing happens in the next 48 hours, these cuts will go into effect, and they could have a dramatic impact on national defense, education, housing aid – and, of note for the adventurers among us, our national parks.

Florida is fortunate to have three amazing national parks: Everglades, Dry Tortugas and Biscayne. Like other federal programs, our national parks are scrambling to figure out how they’ll continue normal operations despite significant budget cuts.

Everglades rainbow

Everglades National Park | Photo used under CC license by Flickr user Photomatt28

The New York Times reported Monday that some parks have already begun slashing services – closing roads to avoid paying for plows, closing trails, reducing visitor center hours and closing campgrounds.

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Photo Friday – Roadside fishing break in the Everglades

Believe it or not, there are things swimming in these waters besides Alligators and giant, alligator-eating pythons.  Unfortunately, all we could find were the gators.

Photo Friday – The Florida Everglades

A storm rolls in over the Florida Everglades.  Boat ramps and fishing docks are located every 20 miles or so along Alligator Alley (the stretch of 1-75 that cuts through the park).  Stop at just about any of them, and you’ll surely spot Florida Alligators monitoring the water around the dock.