SPRINGFIELD -- Federal budget cuts mean the Lincoln Home National Historic Site in Springfield will be depending on more volunteers this summer.
Site superintendent Dale Phillips says he has had staff reductions and $160,000 in budget cuts this fiscal year. The National Park Service site's operating budget has gone from $3.2 million to $2.6 million over three years.
"We've always had enough staff," Phillips told The State Journal-Register for a Tuesday story. "That is no longer the case."
Phillips said he'll need volunteers to "maintain status quo" during summer months that could see more than 120,000 visitors to the site. That's compared to 15,000 visitors during the winter.
The Lincoln Home site has about 30 permanent staffers and 160 volunteers. Those volunteers logged about 6,500 hours in 2012. That's the equivalent of three full-time employees.
The need for volunteers means that staff will rely on them to take on more responsibilities, officials said. Volunteers will be asked to do things like man the front desk and give tour docent talks to visitors, a job requiring public speaking skills, said site volunteer coordinator Kyle McGrogan.
"We train them," McGrogan said. "It's not like you're thrown into the lion's cage."
Marsha Gordon, 59, of Springfield, volunteers at the Lincoln Home as a gardener.
"It's a lot of fun," Gordon said. "The shifts are over before we know it."
Volunteer applications will be accepted through July 9. The site is open every day from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.
The Lincoln Home has had more than 17 million visitors since 1971 and more than 300,000 last year.