Expect to see fewer rangers at National parks this summer

By Ava

Charleston, S.C. (WCIV) On a cool, spring day, small groups of tourists are filtering in and out the tunnels of Fort Moultrie on Sullivan's Island.

"So far it's really kind of neat. This history here is pretty amazing. I've never been here before and it's quite amazing," said Denise Swindell, of Maryland.

Swindell is one of the estimated 400,000 tourists to visit Fort Sumter, Fort Moultrie and the Charles Pinckney National Historic site each year.

"Those numbers have been on the increase every year and again when they come to the parks this summer they will probably see less park rangers," said Tim Stone, park superintendent.

He said as a federally funded park, sequestration will mean a 5 percent{}cut to the park's budget.

"It's going to take $135,000 out of our budget, and that's for the rest of this fiscal year which goes through September," said Stone. {}

Stone said the permanent staff positions they planned to fill will not{}be filled this year. He said they will only able to hire a few seasonal workers during the summer. Stone said they will also reduce the supplies used to preserve artifacts.

"There will be less money do this kid of metal preservation and less money to understand how Ft. Sumter was constructed with brick and mortar," said Stone.

Stone said until the sequester ends and Congress passes a budget, the park will also have to cut programs from its schedule, including{}National Outdoors Day and the Gullah heritage programs.

He expects the remaining park rangers will still be able provide the same level quality tours despite the number of rangers this summer.