FARMINGTON — Local branches of the Bureau of Land Management and the National Park Service said they have numerous vacant positions because of a forced budget cut, and more cost-saving measures could soon effect customers.

A nationwide budget cut to federal programs went into effect March 1. The sequestration will likely hurt local government branches that receive federal assistance and federal agencies, like the BLM and the park service, that have local offices and sites.

Currently, those agencies are dealing with the budget cut by not filling vacancies.

The BLM Farmington Field Office has about 15 vacant positions it is not filling to save money. The agency is also cutting back on training and travel expenses for BLM workers, said Gary Torres, the director of the field office.

The BLM has 125 full-time employees in Farmington.

Those cost-saving measures have helped the agency deal with a 5 to 8 percent cut to its budget without reducing operating hours or ordering worker furloughs, Torres said.

"We canceled training and canceled travel to make an immediate effect," he said. "Later, we'll know if other cuts are required."

Aztec Ruins National Monument and Chaco Culture National Historic Park are not filling vacant positions because of their budget cut, said Lauren Blacik, a park ranger at Aztec Ruins.


"We're leaving positions vacant instead of putting workers on furlough or changing park hours," she said.

The parks have about 32 staff positions combined. The number of unfilled positions was not available Tuesday, but Blacik said there are vacancies in every division.

Aztec Ruins and Chaco preserve ancestral Puebloan dwellings. The two parks receive a total of about 80,000 visitors a year.

The park service said that in the future, Aztec Ruins and Chaco may reduce staff and maintenance and park hours to compensate for the budget cut.

Admission is $5 for adults in Aztec and $8 per vehicle at Chaco. Those prices are not likely to change because of the budget cut.

"We will do our best to maintain current high standards," said Larry Turk, superintendent of Aztec Ruins, in a prepared statement. "But it is impossible to face this kind of cut and not see an impact on the experience of our visitors."

Ryan Boetel can be reached at; 505-564-4644. Follow him on Twitter @rboetel