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NEWS AND BRIEFS

National Park Service to Trim Summer Staff

June 06, 1993|KIM UPTON

Visitors to Yosemite and other national parks this summer will find fewer campgrounds open, shorter visitor center hours and fewer rangers on patrol, according to a spokesman for the National Park Service. Cutbacks are being ordered because of a budgetary shortfall of more than $40 million--the result of decreased federal funding, expenses from major storm damage to several northeastern parks, and winter storms in Appalachia that required large search-and-rescue expenditures. In an effort to determine the consequences of the shortfall, a Washington-based environmental group, the Wilderness Society, last month surveyed 30 parks across the country. It found that, among other changes, Yosemite's Bridalveil Creek and Yosemite Creek campgrounds will not open this summer. Lifeguard service will not be provided at two of the three beaches at Cape Hatteras National Seashore in North Carolina. And Olympic National Park in Washington, which receives 3 million visitors a year, will leave three of its four entry stations unstaffed--ironically forgoing the $4-per-car entry fee at those stations. The survey also found that rangers are having difficulty meeting law enforcement challenges--including emergency responses. Yosemite, which had 846 arrests last year, will have its patrol staff cut from 26 to 19.

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Travel Quiz: What islands off the coast of Newfoundland are overseas departments of France?

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Tickets Made Easier for Holocaust Museum: The stunning popularity of Washington's U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, which opened in April, has left some travelers standing in long lines to obtain the free entry tickets. They are sometimes turned away at the door because the museum is full. To expedite entry, museum officials are recommending that travelers who know three to four weeks in advance when they would like to visit the museum, and do not object to the ticket vendor's $3.50 per-ticket charge, book through TicketMaster in Washington (202-432-7328)). For travelers who don't mind standing in line, free tickets--which contain assigned viewing dates and times--may be obtained at the museum's box office, which opens at 9 a.m. daily. In general, the line for tickets begins to form outside the box office at 8:30 a.m., and tickets for that day are distributed by about noon, a spokeswoman said.

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Prince Charles Calls for Hotel Greening: Calling for hotels to voluntarily become "greener" (more environmentally conscious)--"step by step, pound by pound, flush by flush"--Britain's Prince Charles suggested recently that guests worldwide reuse their towels and that maids save water. The future king, who last month unveiled a thick new manual on hotel management (printed on recycled paper) at a London conference that drew hotel representatives from 13 countries, wants to make hoteliers, as well as their guests, caretakers of the environment. The manual covers everything from recycling plastic shampoo bottles to buying furniture made from plentiful soft woods rather than endangered tropical hardwoods. It was produced by the Prince of Wales Business Leaders Forum, and grew from a manual written two years ago for Inter-Continental Hotels. Eleven hotel chains, including Inter-Continental, Holiday Inn Worldwide, Ramada International Hotels and Resorts and Conrad International Hotels, already have promised to practice and promote such environmental awareness, according to a spokeswoman for Inter-Continental.

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Quick Fact: Average cost of a hotel/motel room in Wyoming, according to state tourism officials: $40-$85 per night. Average cost for meals: $3 for breakfast, $15 for a steak dinner.

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Shipwreck Protected for Divers: On Thursday, the state of Florida will officially designate the century-old USS Massachusetts as an underwater archeological preserve. Thus it can no longer be salvaged or scavenged as divers have done in the past, removing portholes, pieces of brass fittings and pipe. But divers can still explore the ship by following the laminated maps on sale for $5 at dive shops and marinas in the Pensacola area. Launched June 10, 1893, the Massachusetts was one of the first steel-hulled ships. On Jan. 6, 1921, the government, having decided its usefulness was at an end, used the ship for military artillery practice. It sank within hours and through time became an artificial reef, gathering fish and coral. The ship rests in about 26 feet of water, several miles offshore from Pensacola. Parts of the vessel, including two turrets, can be seen from the air.

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Fishy Dramas in Monterey, Calif.: Short historical dramas chronicling the Monterey fishing industry will be offered this summer for the first time at the Maritime Museum of Monterey. The vignettes will be set in the 19th and early 20th centuries, when Monterey was an active sardine producer. They will be performed daily and periodically throughout the day at the museum at Stanton Center, near Fisherman's Wharf, through Labor Day (closed Mondays). For information: (408) 373-2469.

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