Connell — Forced federal budget cuts, called sequestration, are preventing the opening of Scooteney Park near Connell for camping.
The day-use area will remain open, but staff is inadequate because of a federal hiring freeze to allow overnight use, according to the Bureau of Reclamation.
Our first priority is public safety and without the ability to hire key personnel to maintain the park, we have no choice but to delay opening the park to overnight use until further notice, said Stephanie Utter, Ephrata Field Office manager.
Scooteney Park averages about 45,000 visitors a year with nearly 6,000 using the campground. The park sits on about 1,200 acres and has 36 campsites and day-use facilities.
The nearest alternative camping location is Potholes State Park 35 miles northwest of Scooteney Park, according to the Bureau of Reclamation.