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Small Budget Boost Won't Help National Parks

Design Pics/Robert Cable/Valueline/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- President Obama's fiscal 2013 budget is no walk in the park for those seeking employment with the National Park Service.

While it's true that the blueprint the president submitted to Congress does actually call for an additional $13.5 million for the nation's parks next year, the $2.6 billion total request doesn't allow much leeway in bringing on additional seasonal help.

Parks service spokesman Jeffrey Olson says the higher cost of insurance premiums, steeper rents and other factors mean the parks won't be hiring as many temporary workers compared to past years.  These are the staffers generally on the front lines, greeting visitors to the parks and answering their questions.

The 397 parks and other wilderness areas will also have to make do with 218 fewer full-time employees since operating costs would be sliced by $21.6 million.  Most maintenance work, unless it's an absolute emergency, would also be scaled back.

What the White House doesn’t want to sacrifice is conserving ecologically sensitive land, meaning the budget request is 30 percent higher than last year's level.  This $450 million request is expected to be picked apart by Republican lawmakers, who don't see the point of buying more land within parks as well as other purchases to reduce sprawl and development.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio