A recent online article by The Active Times ranks three Kansas state parks amid “36 Stunning U.S. State Parks.” The media group said they considered about 7,500 U.S. state parks for the article.
Kanopolis State Park was ranked as the nation’s 14th best park. Scott Lake State Park was 23rd and Wilson State Park 34th. All three are lake-based state parks amid the prairies of central and western Kansas.
“It’s at those prairie parks where you can get a true vista, and they are three of our prettiest state parks,” said Robin Jennison, Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism secretary. “I’m not surprised because our parks are of that kind of quality but I am surprised, and happy, our parks are getting that kind of attention from somebody not in Kansas.”
To see the article go to theactivetimes.com/36-stunning-us-state-parks.
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Legislative endings — Chris Tymeson, Wildlife and Parks attorney, said the department, and most conservation groups, are pretty pleased with how this year’s legislative session ended.
One of the biggest bills initially would have mandated illegally-killed animals be given to landowners. Tymeson said that could have led to privatization of wildlife in Kansas. It currently belongs to the public. As a compromise, the legislature passed a bill that allows Wildlife and Parks the choice of offering such wildlife to the landowner or to destroy it. Neither was a legal option previously.
“I think it’s certainly better than the original proposal,” Tymeson said. “It does give the department more options of how to dispose of evidence of a crime.”
Until recently evidence, such as antlers could be sold or used for educational purposes.
• The legislature also approved the purchase to two tracts of land to be designated as public areas. One, about 400 acres in Cherokee County, will be purchased with funds from a mining company through mitigation. The other, about 480 acres near Tuttle Creek Reservoir, will mostly be purchased with federal funds from excise taxes on hunting and shooting equipment. Tymeson said about 25 percent of that purchase will be made from state license fee funds.
• The legislature also changed a law that will now allow beginning hunters born on or after July 1, 1957 up to two apprentice licenses before they would be required to obtain hunter education certification. For the past several years they have been allowed one such annual license, which allows them to hunt under the direct supervision of a properly certified hunter. Tymeson said the agency hopes the new law will bring more hunters into the sport and pointed out that now beginners will be able to hunt through a complete run of major hunting seasons which generally run September through mid-February. Hunting licenses are based on a calendar year.
• Defeated were bills that would have completely revoked the Kansas Endangered Species Act and another that would have basically ended conservation easements. Kansas is one of 49 states where a landowner can enroll their property in a program that protects it from being developed for perpetuity.