Scenic trails and the park's historic setting make the Booker T. Washington National Monument a favorite of Michelle Siren. "It's a beautiful setting and honestly if we didn't have this I don't know what we'd do," Siren told us.
Like other National Park Service sites, the national monument is cutting its budget by 5 percent, but most of the impacts should be hidden from visitors' view. Managers believe they can reduce spending without laying off full-time staff, or cutting back the park's hours.
They won't be hiring seasonal workers. The summer will see fewer animals on the farm. Travel and training have been cut, along with the purchase of supplies. Superintendent Carla Whitfield says a small but capable staff and a loyal cadre of volunteers will make the difference.
"It's going to be a challenge," Whitfield told us, "but challenges often lead to opportunities, so maybe we'll create some partnerships that we haven't had before and folks will take a better interest, a bigger interest in their national parks."
As the budget stalemate continues in Washington, Bob Siren says he's frustrated with Congress. "Let's hope it doesn't limit access to the public," he told us, "because... these parks are for the people." He and his wife are thankful that, at least for now, they can continue to enjoy the beauty of a favorite place.