CUSTER — U.S. Sen. John Thune is questioning a decision to close a campground at Wind Cave National Park in southwestern South Dakota due to automatic federal spending cuts that took effect March 1.
The South Dakota Republican sent a letter to National Park Service Director Jonathan Jarvis questioning whether the agency is playing politics by intentionally trying to make the cuts more visible to the public.
Thune says spending cuts should target wasteful spending. He says closing the Elk Mountain Campground and reducing visitor center hours will cut into park revenue.
Wind Cave Superintendent Vidal Davila tells The Daily Republic that budget cuts forced the park to close the campground. He says the park had to eliminate two summer maintenance employees. Evening campfire programs presented by rangers also have been cut.