A scenic window to North Dakota's Theodore Roosevelt National Park won’t open in April, or in the foreseeable future.
The Painted Canyon Overlook, visited by hundreds of thousands of people in the seven months it’s open every year, will not reopen this spring because of federal budget cuts and there’s no word when it will.
The overlook has parking, a fabulous view of the Badlands, restrooms and a visitor center just east of Medora, N.D., on Interstate 94.
Park spokeswoman Eileen Andes said the park budget took a 5 percent hit because of the recent sequestration action in Congress. Besides the loss of the popular overlook, the park will hire fewer seasonal employees, hold off on filling permanent positions, curtail travel and delay purchases, Andes said.
She said the new 5 percent cut comes on top of budget cuts over the past three years that altogether add up to a 10 percent reduction.
Andes said the park has few places to make cuts because of so many fixed costs.
The overlook is a popular place, she said. Some 290,000 people drove into it last year and 71,000 people went inside the small visitor center there.
The number who drove into the overlook was about one-third of the park’s visitation and while the two were not necessarily the same group, Andes said, many people who see the view decide to pull into the park a few more miles west near Medora.
Andes said the park is still mostly funded and will continue to provide camping, programs and the main visitor center at the park’s entrance.