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02222013 sequestration could impact wyo travel
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 Sequestration Could Impact Wyo Travel

From Scott Balyo, Cody Chamber and WTIC member: No doubt by now you have heard about the possible impacts of the nation's budget "sequester", the automatic $85 billion in cuts, which includes $110 million in national park budget reductions scheduled to take effect March 1.

Included would be 5% reductions to Yellowstone's budget for operations, including possible delayed gate openings. While we have been directed to contact the National Park Service in DC regarding specific possible cuts, media sources are claiming that delays to ALL Yellowstone gates could range anywhere from 2-4 weeks: See two articles linked below:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/national-park-advocates-pressing-congress-to-prevent-deep-budget-cuts/2013/02/16/9b9f1b78-714a-11e2-ac36-3d8d9dcaa2e2_story.html

http://www.nationalparkstraveler.com/2013/02/visitor-access-yellowstone-cape-cod-grand-canyon-other-national-parks-could-be-limited-looming-seque22835


While few people would argue the need to get our nation's fiscal house in order, it is my hope that cuts that  won't restrict Yellowstone access can be identified as alternatives to road closures.

Claudia Wade from the Park County Travel Council and I have sent a joint letter to our US delegation (Senators Barrasso and Enzi and Representative Lummis), the text of which I have pasted below. I would encourage our members to reach out to them as well and express your concerns. Having the park open on its normal schedule (weather permitting) is critical to our businesses, employees and most importantly, our guests.

Here is their contact information:

Senator John Barrasso
307 Dirksen Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510
Main: 202-224-6441
Fax: 202-224-1724
Tollfree: 866-235-9553
http://barrasso.senate.gov/public/

Senator Mike Enzi
379A Senate Russell Office Building
Washington, DC 20510
Phone: (202) 224-3424
Fax: (202) 228-0359
Toll-Free: (888) 250-1879
http://www.enzi.senate.gov/public/

Representative Cynthia Lummis
113 Cannon House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515
Phone: (202) 225-2311
Toll Free: (888) 879-3599
Fax: (202) 225-3057
http://lummis.house.gov/

Thank you for your membership and your attention to this important matter.

Best regards,

Scott Balyo
Executive Director
Cody Country Chamber of Commerce

LETTER:

We are writing to express our significant concern about the effects that the “Sequestration” budget cuts could have on Yellowstone National Park and our gateway community.

While we do not know the exact details of the proposed cuts, it is our understanding that possible actions may include delayed plowing/road opening of the East Gate/Sylvan Pass – Cody’s primary entrance to the Park – and as well as reduced services inside the Park.

These actions would have extremely negative consequences for our businesses, guests and ultimately the residents of Park County. So much of our economy is tied to Yellowstone that even small, targeted cuts can have a large, negative impact. Traffic through the East Gate of Yellowstone and Park County lodging tax collections were both up 10% last year. We do not want to lose the momentum gained through our effective marketing efforts.

We understand that our nation’s finances demand significant attention and that cuts need to be made, but we are asking that you support our request to have funding preserved in what is arguably the country’s most popular national park. The economies of Cody, Park County and the State of Wyoming will be severely impacted should these cuts take place.

We appreciate your attention to this matter.

Sincerely,

Scott Balyo                                                              Claudia Wade
Executive Director                                                   Director
Cody Country Chamber of Commerce                    Park County Travel Council Marketing

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Wyoming Travel Industry Coalition (WTIC)
P.O. Box 1003, Cheyenne, WY 82003  Phone: (307) 634-8816, Fax (307) 632-0249