Michael Pearce

Wichitan named to Wildlife, Parks and Tourism Commission

Harrison Williams has been named to the Kansas Wildlife, Parks and Tourism Commission.
Harrison Williams has been named to the Kansas Wildlife, Parks and Tourism Commission.

For years, Harrison Williams promised himself, and others, he’d get more involved in outdoors causes after he retired. Williams, 62, retired from Boeing in December.

Monday it was announced he’d been appointed to the Kansas Wildlife, Parks and Tourism Commission by Gov. Sam Brownback.

“I thought maybe I could do some good for the outdoors people of Kansas and for the future outdoors people of Kansas,” Williams, of Wichita, said of why he applied for the position. “I want to make sure things are available for them the same as I had in my youth and now in my adulthood.”

Williams replaces Randy Doll, of Leon, on the commission. Doll did not seek re-appointment. Commissioners can serve up to three, four-year terms. The commission is a seven-member board that offers advice to the Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism. They also vote on regulations such as hunting season dates, most state park topics and some endangered species issues.

Williams refers to himself as “unaffiliated politically,” meaning he belongs to no party.

He is the first African-American man appointed to the commission.

Born and raised around Pratt, Williams said he still enjoys time on a farm that’s been in his family for 126 years. He has a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from Friends University and a bachelor’s in business management from Southwestern College. He worked for the Wichita Police Department for five years and for Boeing, in the security division, for 30 years.

He’s hoping he has more time for hunting and fishing, though he said he did plenty of both while working.

“Turkey and deer are my favorites, though not necessarily in that order,” said Williams. “Every (pheasant and quail) opening weekend we have a crew that gets together and goes out. It’s just kind of a ritual we’ve always done.”

Crappie are his favorite fish, though he also enjoys catching catfish. Most of his angling is done in smaller, often private waters.

He’s hunted elk a few times and about five years ago was successful on an archery bear hunt in Canada. A committee member of the Ark Valley Chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation, Williams said he’d like to pursue a Grand Slam of shooting all four American sub-species of turkeys.

Cooking wild game and fish is another valued hobby to Williams. He is married with two children of his own, two stepchildren and three stepgrandchildren.

His first commission meeting will be Aug. 20 near Great Bend. He is doing his best to get ready.

“I’m looking forward to the challenge,” said Williams, “I always have.”

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