State park officials say they’ll offer partial refunds for those who purchase a traditional annual state park vehicle permit, then opt for the new Park Passport program later in the year.
The program, which began last week, allows Kansans to purchase annual park access permits at a reduced rate, $15.50, while registering vehicles with their county treasurer.
Traditional annual permits are about $25, said Linda Lanterman, Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism state park director.
She said traditional annual permits are valid for a calendar year, while Park Passports will be valid for 12 months, beginning when the vehicle is registered.
Lanterman said the refund will subtract about $1.90 per month the traditional permit was used.
But Robin Jennison, Wildlife and Parks secretary, said a state regulation prohibits the agency from sending out checks for less than $5.
“We’re going to have to quit in November and December, they won’t be able to be reimbursed,” Jennison said. “It’s an administrative rule, but I think it’s pretty fair, otherwise.”
A form on the state park website can get the refund started. Refunds won’t be available at agency offices.
Lanterman said the parks department is hoping at least 200,000 Kansans take advantage of the new program.
Park users can buy as many passports as they have vehicles, but there is no discount for multiple vehicles.
Lanterman said the new program will not offer any discounts to senior citizens, who can still purchase a regular annual vehicle permit for about half-price.
“They’ll have to get that from a state park office,” she said. “It will cost them $13.75, so we’re anticipating many seniors will also participate in the passport program and buy their permits when they register their vehicles.”
As in the past, camping permits are being sold at reduced rates through March 31.
Commission to talk caliber restrictions — The Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism commission will begin discussions about changing the requirements for what ammunition can be used for hunting deer in Kansas.
Mike Miller, Wildlife and Parks information chief, said the agency is considering making all sizes of center-fire rifle, handgun and shotgun ammo legal for deer hunting.
Currently only rifle and handgun ammo that is .23 diameter or larger, and at least 1.28 inches long is legal for deer hunting.
For shotguns, it’s 20 gauges and larger. Miller said shotguns would still be required to fire slugs to be legal.
Miller said the agency may eventually request the changes to provide greater flexibility in what guns can be used for hunting deer.
Several states have similar rules, which means deer hunters can use cartridges such as the .223 and .22-250.
Miller said the commission will probably hear a report on surveys sent to deer hunters who used crossbows during the past archery season.
Of particular interest are the responses from those in four experimental management units that allowed any hunter to use a crossbow during that season. Statewide, hunters 16 and under, and 55 and over were allowed to use crossbows without a disability permit.
Biologists and commissioners will also begin the process of setting this year’s big-game seasons. The meeting begins at 1:30 p.m. at the Clifford/Stone Community Room at Butler Community College.