Budget cutbacks close Hurricane Ridge during holidays

OLYMPIC NATIONAL PARK --  If your outdoor recreational plans include Olympic National Park,  you may be out of luck, at least during the upcoming holidays.

Federal budget cutbacks to the Olympic National Park will close Hurricane Ridge during Christmas and New Year's week, the Peninsula Daily News reported.  The closure of the popular holiday spot is due to a host of budget-related closures targeting the park, the paper reported.

"The road typically would have been opened this weekend and then opened on Monday and Tuesday, closed for Christmas and opened Thursday," Barb Maynes, Olympic National Park spokeswoman, said.

Budget cuts will also cancel the ranger-led snowshoe tours of Hurricane Ridge and the temporary winter closure of the Hoh Rain Forest Visitor Center.  Cutbacks are because of national cuts to the national park system, Park Superintendent Sarah Creachbaum told the Peninsula Daily News.

"When the government shutdown ended, Congress provided funds to operate the parks through January 15.  Final funding for fiscal 2014 will not be resolved before then," Creachbaum said.  The park needs to conserve what funds it has for the busy summer season, when the park gets the bulk of its visitors, Creachbaum told the paper.