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Smokies brace for funding cuts

Published On: Feb 26 2013 05:47:00 AM EST   Updated On: Feb 26 2013 01:13:01 PM EST

The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is bracing for automatic federal spending cuts, set to begin March 1.

The Associated Press reported National Park Service spokesman Jeffrey Olson in Washington, D.C. Olsen provided a prepared statement that said visitors to all national parks should be prepared for reduced hours and fewer services.

NPS said cuts could include closing of campgrounds and hiking trails. Interpretive programs could also be curtailed.

Olsen said he could not comment on a leaked memo that indicated parks should prepare to cut back spending by 5 percent.

The cuts - called sequestration - would kick in if the president and Congress can't agree on a spending plan.

The Smokies is the most-visited of the nation's parks.