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Federal Cuts Expected To Have Large Impact On Assateague Island

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Assateague Island National Seashore is a unit of the National Park Service occupying much of Assateague Island along the Atlantic coast of Maryland and Virginia.
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Assateague Island National Seashore is a unit of the National Park Service occupying much of Assateague Island along the Atlantic coast of Maryland and Virginia.

More than 2 million people visited Assateague Island National Seashore last summer to see the famous wild horses, hang out on the beach, and explore some of the most picturesque bits of nature on the coast.

But this year, with sequestration slicing almost a quarter-million from the park's $5 million annual budget, there is concern that the cuts in Washington could impact a lot of summer vacations near the shore.

For instance, officials had to stop programs that manage the water quality of the streams and creeks that enter the waters around the park, and it must delay the replacement of aging vehicles and boats that help ensure public safety.

In addition, the sequester is also forcing the park to scale back staffing at admission booths, which will likely mean about $70,000 in revenue loses this summer.

The park also won't be able to move forward with their hopes of hiring a new volunteer coordinator and finding a replacement for the park's superintendent who left this past spring.

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