North Bay parks starting to feel budget cut pains

The next time you and your brood make a trip up to your favorite Marin national park you may notice everything isn’t as clean as you remember.

As usual, budget cuts are to blame for everything from reduced hours at the Headlands tourist center to dirtier bathrooms and less trash pick up at national parks.

Because of the federal cutbacks, $1.4 million is being ripped out of the pockets of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area’s $25 million budget. Another $374,000 is being pried away from the Point Reyes National Seashore’s $7 million budget.

Remember all that sequestration hoopla at the beginning of March? You can now thank Congress for not being able to come to a budget plan agreement and, in turn, cutting trillions of dollars from various agencies.

A total of $1.2 trillion is slated to be cut from government agencies over the next 10 years.

California’s parks aren’t the only ones affected either. From Maine to Philadelphia to Utah, all national parks are getting hit hard.

Cuts have already begun affecting the more than 16 million people that visit the Marin Headlands annually. The visitor center has had to close its doors Tuesday through Fridays, only remaining open from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Saturday through Monday.

Trash collection will soon become non-existent at the Haypress, Hawk and Bicentennial campgrounds in the Headlands and Tennessee Valley.

And if you’re camping in Marin, know that the campsite restrooms will only be cleaned once a week.

Non-emergency park maintenance will take a backseat for a while, however park officials told the Marin IJ emergency situations will continue to receive immediate response.

John Dell’Osso, Point Reyes National Seashore spokesman said the cuts will likely start on May 1 which, among other things, will lead to the closure of the Ken Patrick Visitors Center.

Additionally, access to the Point Reyes Lighthouse will be closed from Tuesday through  Thursday each week.

So what are you waiting for, go out and see some Bay Area parks while you still can.