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LINCOLN CITY – In 2012, Lincoln Boyhood National Memorial had 134,000 visitors who spent close to $10.1 million in the communities around the national memorial. That spending supported as many as 12 jobs in the local area. Figures for 2013 show a similar trend.
“Abraham Lincoln is an American icon. Last year people came from over 30 states and several countries to learn about his youth in Indiana,” Superintendent Kendell Thompson said. “Lincoln wrote Indiana was ‘the very spot where grew the bread that formed my bones.’ This is where his mother is buried; our staff are proud to tend her grave and grow corn as the Lincoln’s once did,” added Thompson. “Over 54-percent of our visitors come from outside the immediate area. What they spend here is added to our local economy.”
The sequestration will affect operations at the national memorial and impact visitors and the local economy for years. Most visitors cite historical demonstrations at the pioneer farm as one of the high points of their trip and the main reason for a return visit.
Following sequestration, the farm will be closed most days during the summer season. Heritage crops will not be grown and livestock will have to be reduced. “We have spent years developing our heritage seed bank and finding heritage animal species that are similar to ones the Lincolns may have used. Losing this continuity will impact what visitors see for years to come,” Thompson said.
Other sequestration effects include cutting back or canceling school programs for the 7000 school kids that visit each year; not hiring any seasonal employees; and ending the High School Intern Program that employs three to five high-school students each summer. Thompson said, “some of our seasonals have been working here over a decade. They will have to find work elsewhere, causing us to lose their institutional knowledge and well developed skill sets.”