So we have all heard about the upcoming sequestering in the government. One of the branches of government which will be receiving the deep hatchet over the next few years is the National Park Service. Already, parks across the national are starting to feel the effects of this tightening of the belt. Yellowstone National Park, Blue Ridge Parkway, Badlands National Park, and our very own Great Smoky Mountains National Park are all loosing funds. These aren’t the only parks though. State and local parks are sure to see the negative effects as well.
These cuts will affect the parks in a variety of ways. Parks will now open roads later in the season, seasonal workers will not be rehired, and permanent positions will also not get hired as much as the previous years. Visitors and the surrounding communities are going to feel the effects of this slim workforce for sure. The worst case scenarios are that the response times for forest fire management and rescue response time will be diminished. Many parks have even closed multiple campsites to accommodate the budget freeze.
It is also important to know that these cuts not only affect the parks themselves but the communities and economies which surround them. For instance, The Great Smoky Mountains National Park generated approximately $818 Million in revenue for its gateway communities in 2010. The park also supports hundreds of jobs which will now be in jeopardy.
So what does this have to do with the design community? A lot. Designers across the board can most likely expect less work from the government of the next few years as they look to lighten the national debt. Adding this limp on top of a stumbling housing recovery will surely have its toll. Time will tell just how much the design world will be affected. With any luck we can move under the radar, but it is unlikely.