Budget cuts may cause Lehman Caves to close during winter months

Great Basin National Park may see Lehman Caves closed during the months of December, January and February, depending on sequestration cuts. The park’s 2014 Fiscal Year begins Oct. 1, but the park doesn’t have a budget yet.

GBNP Superintendent Steve Mietz would not confirm what length of time, if at all, Lehman Caves will close because of a lack of clear idea of its budget.

“Therefore, we are faced with planning for a variety of potential budget scenarios right now so we are looking at many different options,” Mietz said. “Hopefully, in the next few weeks we will get more clarity on our budget for FY2014 and then we can better define exactly what impacts, if any, sequester cuts will have upon park operations.”

Mietz stressed that until the park knows more about what its budget will be based on what happens in Washington D.C., the park doesn’t know what, if any, changes will need to be made and there are a variety of options being looked at. But Lehman Caves is one of the options being looked at.

“Yes, cutting hours at Lehman Caves is one of the many options we are currently looking at to make up for potential budget shortfalls in 2014,” Mietz said.

Lehman Caves is a marble cave with stalactites, stalagmites, helictites, flowstone, popcorn and more than 300 rare shield formations. Cave tours are offered daily year round except for Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day. Lehman Caves is a major attraction for Great Basin National Park. For more information about Lehman Caves or GBNP, please visit www.nps.gov/grba/index.htm or call 775-234-7517.

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