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Federal budget cuts delay opening of Hyatt Lake boat ramps, campground

 Posted: 10:15 AM April 11, 2013

The only improved boat ramps at Hyatt Lake will be closed at least until mid-May because of budget cutbacks plaguing the federal Bureau of Land Management's summer recreation program in Southern Oregon.

Federal budget cuts prompted a recent BLM hiring freeze that left the agency short on summer seasonal workers needed to prep the BLM's campsites and its two boat ramps that were just rebuilt last summer, the agency reported.

The campgrounds and ramps typically open April 15, well before the April 27 opening day to the trout-fishing season at the popular reservoir off Highway 66 east of Ashland.

Now the facilities will be closed at least until May 15 while the BLM sorts out how to staff its recreational facilities with less than one-third of the seasonal employees it typically hires.

"We don't have enough people to prepare things that need to be handled at Hyatt Lake," BLM spokesman Jim Whittington said this morning. "We want to be able to get it to the standard it needs to be before opening."

Other recreation sites within the BLM's Medford District could also see their seasons delayed or cancelled, but no decisions on other sites have been made yet, Whittington said.

— Mark Freeman

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