Budget cuts generate protest

Jeanette Hensley gets a kiss from her 8-year-old German shepherd Kenai near the east gate of Colorado National Monument on Friday. Hensley joined about a half dozen people in protesting budget cuts that will come if the sequester is not averted.

Ten Grand Valley residents gathered behind a sign calling the automatic spending cuts contained in the sequester a “monumentally bad idea” Friday at the east gate to Colorado National Monument.

Jeanette Hensley, who attended with her dog, Kenai, said she feared the sequester would close national parks and other venues run by the National Park Service.

The sequester, which requires a 2.3 percent reduction in federal programs through the remainder of the year, went into effect Friday.

The Interior Department, however, has required a 5.1 percent reduction in the Park Service budget.

An organization known as Know Your Care, founded to support the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, organized the rally.

Hensley said she feared the sequester could inhibit her and millions of others’ plans to visit national parks around the nation and said it couldn’t have come at a worse time as people will be wanting the solitude and escape the parks offer.

She also worries that friends and neighbors who work for the federal government will be furloughed or lose their jobs, Hensley said.

Park Service officials said the hours in which the entry stations are manned will be cut, reducing revenue to the monument by an estimated $30,000.


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