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Federal Spending Cuts Hurting Area Visitor Center - NBC29 WVIR Charlottesville, VA News, Sports and Weather

Federal Spending Cuts Hurting Area Visitor Center

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The visitors center is now closed two days a week due to federal cuts. The visitors center is now closed two days a week due to federal cuts.

A visitor's center along the Blue Ridge Parkway is experiencing the effects of sequestration budget cuts.

Weekly concerts - which have attracted crowds of tourists and locals for years - are becoming less frequent.

And the cuts are chopping deeper.

Travelers who thought they were making a quick stop at the Humpback Rock Visitors' Center were in for a treat Sunday when they turned off the parkway.

A Shenandoah Valley band strummed and sang to hundreds of people.

Andrew Johnston from Ireland and Jim Jenkins from Illinois were impressed.

"I'm surprised at how many people are here and the scenery looks very nice and the people were very helpful in the visitor's center," Johnston said.

"[It's a] chance to relax take in some hospitality and some great food and meet some nice people and just have a good time. That's why we are here," Jenkins said.

But this relaxing break for weary travelers is threatened.

Federal spending cuts -- known as sequestration --   have reduced the concerts from weekly to twice a season.

"We've had to cut back on some of our weekend programming like the concert here," said Ranger Dave Vargo.

And concerts aren't the only attraction slashed.

"We are now closed two days a week Tuesdays and Wednesdays. We've never closed our farm cabin before," Vargo said.

Jobs are going too.

Vargo says the staff has been cut in half and is now down to one full-time and one part-time ranger.

Locals like Bee Wingfield of Staunton say they're disappointed.

"I came to hear the band, but we've come up here before, oh we've been here many times, and I really like it, so many people do and I hope they don't cut it out," she said.

Vargo says he doesn't know how deep the federal spending cuts will go or whether they will cause the concerts to end entirely.

If you missed Sunday's concert the next one isn't until September 15.

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