Peninsula: Olympic National Park officials face staff shortage

An increasing number of unfunded federal mandates and a limited budget are tasking Olympic National Park employees and forcing a cut in visitor services.

Officials say there is little they can do about the increased park employee work load and reduction of services available to visitors — the park is short on staff and does not have any more money for hiring additional employees.

Olympic National Park Chief Ranger Curt Sauer said the park currently has 24 permanent rangers. But another dozen are needed, as are at least another 12 seasonal rangers.

And without the personnel Sauer says are needed, visitors to the park are not getting the services they once enjoyed.

“A visitor who falls and sprains their ankle may have to wait longer for rangers to come and assist,” park spokeswoman Barb Maynes said.

But park services extend beyond injury assistance, she said, noting the park offers a variety of programs which have been affected by the lack of needed staffing.

Full details appear in today's edition of the Peninsula News. Click onto “Subscribe” to have your PDN delivered to your home or office.

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