The Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area could stand to lose $425,000 from its $8.5 million budget as part of substantial federal budget cuts.
"I think that anyone who works for the National Park Service does it because they love the job and they care about the programs. It’s really hard to stomach cutbacks," Kate Kuykendall, a public information officer for the SMMNRA, said.
The budget cuts, known as sequestration, were part of a deal struck between the White House and Congress in 2011 on the raising of the national debt limit. Democrats were in favor of voting to raise the debt ceiling, but Republicans wanted spending cuts in return. Sequestration will end in 2021 and is projected to lower the deficit by $1.2 trillion.
Kuykendall said the agency was asked to come up with a plan for a 5 percent budget cut.
"We’re not able to fill vacancies behind people who have retired," Kuykendall said.
The main effect of those vacancies will be a reduction in youth programming, she said.
"Six thousand young people who would normally go out to the mountains and be out in nature are likely not going to be able to do that this year," Kuykendall said.
The students mainly come from under served communities in Southern California.
One of those vacancies is a volunteer trainer, meaning the park could have 4,000 less volunteer hours.
"The kind of activities are trail maintenance days, garbage removal, removal of invasive species," she said.
The Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area will also see an increase in deferred maintenance.
"From a long term perspective, it’s not responsible," she said. "... Any homeowner knows if you let things go on you might be spending more money in the long run."