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Due to a lack of interest, money and staffing, the Hanau military community in Germany has canceled all bus-based outdoor recreation trips until further notice, officials said Wednesday.

“It’s kind of drastic,” said Dan Thompson, publicity director for U.S. Army Garrison Hessen’s marketing department. “It was a big shock for us. We didn’t see it happening.”

The move applies only to Hanau, and not to other communities within USAG Hessen, such as Baumholder and Wiesbaden. For the time being, Thompson said, Wiesbaden will pick up the slack.

That means anyone from Hanau interested in taking a Morale, Welfare and Recreation bus trip will have to hitch a ride aboard a Wiesbaden coach. Thompson said such arrangements shouldn’t cause any major problems because the bus will just swing by Hanau en route to its primary destination.

“We’d like it to be temporary, but nobody knows,” Thompson said. “We’re looking for ways to save money.”

Officials have had to call off the last three outdoor recreation trips, including one to the North Sea, because too few people signed up for them, Thompson said.

Deposits are not fully refundable once a proposed trip is canceled inside two weeks. A hotel, for example, might return only 25 percent of the deposit in such cases.

Thompson said no deposit money was lost from the three recently canceled trips, but it did cause officials to pause and rethink things, which ultimately led to this week’s announcement.

Choosing which trips to commit to can sometimes be like “shooting in the dark,” Thompson said, but he still encouraged people, especially groups, to suggest trips.

MWR has been “scaling back on its trips for a while,” he said, but it “won’t pass” on trips involving large groups.

The long-term fate of the Hanau community is up in the air amid the U.S. military’s transformation, which calls for closing and downsizing military communities overseas. But Thompson said this week’s decision “is not a closure issue.”

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