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Fiscal cliff could impact Arizona national parks

PHOENIX -- Arizona is home to three national parks, including the crown jewel of the system -- the Grand Canyon -- and all of them could take budget hits if Congress and the president fail to reach a compromise by year's end.

Kevin Dahl, Arizona program manager with the National Parks Conservation Service, said there's no question budget cuts will impact Arizona's economy.

"We know that for every dollar the federal government spends in the parks there's $10 worth of benefit locally to people working in restaurants and hotels, all the things that people need when they visit the parks."

Dahl believes many ranger jobs would likely be cut if a budget compromise can't be reached. Personnel cuts could potentially keep foreign visitors away because they may be concerned how budget issues would affect their experience.

"You can't go to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon and not hear six to eight foreign languages as people come to see these world-class areas," Dahl said.

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About the Author


Position: Senior News Reporter. Started with KTAR July 4, 1999.

Favorite spots in Arizona: Pinetop-Lakeside, Alpine, Greer.

Have covered some of the biggest stories in Arizona including nine of the top 10 largest wildfires in state history. The Wallow Fire in 2011 became the largest fire in state history. Rodeo-Chediski Fire in June 2002, which is the second largest fire in Arizona. Covered the Yarnell Hill Tragedy in June 2013 that left 19 Granite Mountain Hotshots dead.

Favorite movies: True Grit, both 1969 John Wayne classic and the remake with Jeff Bridges and Lonesome Dove.

Sports Teams: Washington State University Cougars, Texas Longhorns, The University of Montana Grizzlies.

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