Monthly Archives: December 2012

Discount Kansas State Parks Passport to Debut in 2013

Discount Kansas State Parks Passport to Debut in 2013

Passport available to residents registering their vehicles

TOPEKAKS – Kansans who enjoy visiting the state parks can count on at least two annual rituals – renewing their vehicle registrations and buying their annual park permits.  Currently, these tasks must be completed on separate occasions, at different buildings or online locations, and using separate transactions.  That’s about to change, thanks to a partnership between the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism (KDWPT) and the Kansas Department of Revenue (KDOR).    

Beginning in 2013, Kansas motor vehicle owners will be able to buy an annual park vehicle permit as part of their vehicle registration process.  The permit – called a Kansas State Parks Passport – will cost $15.00 (county treasurers can elect to add a $0.50 service fee).  This lower-price, non-transferable permit will be available only during the vehicle registration process at a motor vehicle registration office, through the online vehicle registration site (, or when registering by mail.  The Kansas State Parks Passport will expire when the vehicle registration expires a year later.

During 2013, persons who would like to purchase an annual park permit before they register their vehicles can do so at any KDWPT office,Kansas license vendor or through the KDWPT website, (, and then request a pro-rated refund for the difference in cost.  Refund forms will be available from KDWPT state park offices or through the KDWPT website at  Only Kansas State Park Passports purchased between January 1, 2013 and June 30, 2013 will be eligible for refund.    

Kansas residents (except seniors and persons with disabilities) and owners of vehicles not registered in Kansas who buy their park vehicle permits at a KDWPT office or vendor will have to pay the regular price for annual and daily permits.  The regular annual park vehicle permit will cost $25.00, and the daily vehicle permit fee will be $5.00, including processing fees.       

To save even more starting in 2013, residents 65 years of age or older or persons with disabilities who display a special license plate or placard issued pursuant to state law can buy a park vehicle permit directly from a KDWPT office or vendor.  Including processing fees, the cost will be $13.75 for annual vehicle park permits or $3.25 for regular daily permits.  These lower-priced permits will not be available as part of the vehicle registration process.       


KDWPT pushed for the new passport in the 2012 legislative session.  Kansas state parks receive modest funding from the state general fund but the amount has dwindled in recent years, resulting in significant challenges for park operations and maintenance. 

Robin Jennison, KDWPT Secretary, explained that the agency is striving to be less reliant on state general funds.  “The new annual permit will provide a lower cost way for families and young people to visit our state parks.  It also will help expand our customer base, and provide a more reliable, consistent revenue stream to stabilize the funding pool so we can more effectively operate our state parks.  We deeply appreciate the help of the Department of Revenue to make this happen.” he said. 

Linda Craghead, Assistant Secretary for Parks and Tourism, added, “The Kansas State Parks Passport will make it more convenient and affordable for Kansans to enjoy our 25 state parks.  It will be a great way for families to reconnect with nature and each other, and help preserve the parks for future generations.  Families can enjoy a whole year of adventure and outdoor activities for less than the cost of treating the family to a night at the movies.”

“We are pleased to partner with the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism to offer this customer service feature which will make it easier for all Kansans to visit our state parks,” said KDOR Vehicles Director Donna Shelite.  

Information about the new Kansas State Parks Passport will be included in the registration renewal notice sent to vehicle owners each year.


Ron Kaufman
Director of Information Services/CIO
Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism

1020 S. Kansas Ave., Suite 200

TopekaKS  66612785-296-2870

New Hunting/Fishing License Required for 2013

Hunting and fishing license exemption age changed to 75

Beginning January 1, 2013, Kansas resident hunters and anglers age 65-74 will be required to purchase hunting and fishing licenses. Before this law changed, residents 65 and older were exempt from fishing and hunting license requirements. However, hunters and anglers 65 and older are our fastest growing age group, and changes were necessary to ensure federal aid is not lost and to avoid future budget shortfalls.

Legislation that abolished the exemption provides bargain licenses for seniors. In fact, the best bargain is theSenior Lifetime Pass, a hunting/fishing combination license good for the rest of the holder’s life that will cost $42.50, including vendor and issuance fees. Residents 65 and older can also opt for an annual fishing or hunting license at half the regular price, $11.50, or an annual hunting/fishing combination license for $20.50. Residents 75 and older are still exempt.

The new senior licenses, along with all the 2013 licenses and permits will go on sale Dec. 14, and they are valid for the remainder of 2012 and all of 2013. They can be purchased at more than 600 vendors across the state or online

Feds May Target Sportsman’s Funding to Pay Down Deficit

By Jim Shepherd

The Outdoor Wire

An email from a reader at a state wildlife agencies asked if I had seen the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) “sequesterable and exempt budgetary resources” report regarding the Sequestration Transparency Act, part of a deal worked out last year to end the ongoing debt-ceiling crisis.

I hadn’t. There’s no possible way for anyone to be read-in on everything distributed from DC. But I got a copy of the report – and I didn’t like what I found.

No one else who spends dollars taxed (voluntarily) under either the Pittman-Robertson or Dingell-Johnson acts will, either. The reason? Sequestration is a fancy word for simply taking funds from existing programs under the guise of reducing the federal deficit.

Under the Budget Control Act of 201, the OMB is required to enact a plan (The Sequestration Transparency Act) to reduce the deficit by $1.2 trillion dollars should the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction fail to propose-and Congress enact- a deficit reduction plan.

As we know, there’s no budget agreement – and none on the horizon. So…sequestration is the mandated next step.

Basically, the government takes (sequesters) a portion of allocated funds – supposedly across the board – to reduce the deficit. As described by the OMB, “Sequestration is a blunt and indiscriminate instrument.” It is also described as “not the responsible way for our Nation to achieve deficit reduction.”

It’s a pre-action casualty list for mandated funding cuts. It is the nuclear option for deficit reduction. There’s no way to plan for the sort of cuts described in the report.

Federal aid for wildlife restoration, state wildlife grants, the Sport Fishing Restoration Fund and the National Park Service will all be cut- significantly. The National Park Service alone stands to lose more than $183 million in operating funds.

To get some perspective on the looming prospect, I reached out to Jeff Crane, President of the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation and Ron Regan, Executive Director of the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies for their sense of what sequestration might actually mean.

Neither painted a pretty picture.

“Basically,” says Crane, “OMB’s sequestering proposal is a raid on the Fish and Wildlife Trust.”

And, Crane pointed out, the “raid” comes in the year we celebrate the seventy-fifty anniversary of the fund that has been instrumental in protecting America‘s wildlife and wild places. That’s not a pretty picture. The AFWA’s Ron Regan didn’t do anything to lighten the mood.

“We’re looking at big cuts,” he said, “and the Trust doesn’t seem to be a legitimate candidate for sequestration.” As he pointed out, this “trust” is essentially a bond not to use collected funds for anything other than their intended purpose.

Both Crane and Regan say meetings are underway to look at all possible “remedies”. Generally, “remedy” means one of two things: legal action to force a halt to the proposed action, or legislative action to change the sequestration rules. Legal action isn’t always a good option, but legislative actions, especially when they involve money, don’t happen overnight.

Whatever the various outdoor organizations decide as their best course of action, we’d better all start paying attention- and let our elected officials in Washington know we’re not going to sit still while the Fish and Wildlife Trust gets the same treatment as the Social Security Trust fund.

Our contributions are voluntary, but our voicing our dissent is mandatory.

Phoning or Texting the Location of a Deer to Another Hunter is Illegal

Law doesn’t allow hunters to radio or phone the location of game animals

            You see a big buck moving in the direction of your buddy’s deer stand. You want him to be ready, so you grab your cell phone and without thinking you send him a text: “Big buck coming your way!” Unfortunately, you’ve just broken the law.

The law has been on the books for years, and many hunters are aware that two-way radios can’t be used to give the location of a game animal for the purpose of taking such animal. However, the law prohibits the use of “a radio or other mechanical device,” which includes cell phones. And a text is the same as a call. Don’t do it.

Other common violations that can be easily avoided include wearing the required amount of hunter orange, which is a vest with 100 square inches visible from the front and 100 square inches visible from the back and an orange hat. Remember to sign, date and affix your carcass tag to the deer before you move it from the site of the kill. And always have the proper permit and your hunting license on your person while hunting.

KVOE Outdoor Trivia Contest

2nd Annual KVOE “What’s in Outdoors”

Outdoor Trivia Contest…Just in time for Christmas!

Visit The What’s in Outdoors page at and click on the Outdoor’s Trivia Contest link. 

We will have a drawing for weekly winners on Friday’s show December 7th, 14th and 21st.

Three grand prize outdoor adventures will also be awarded.

To complete the contest you will also need to submit a story sharing your most memorable outdoor experience: Fishing, hiking, hunting, exploring, bird watching, gardening etc.  Pictures are a plus but not a requirement to win.

Prizes include:

·      Grand Prize (Adult Category, 18 or over) – Half day tube Fly Fishing Excursion from Bill Hartman

·      Grand Prize (Youth Category) – a day at Council Grove City Lake with Phil. Youth can be accompanied by parents or a caring adult.

·      Grand Prize (Family Story Category) – a canoe rental on an educational float trip with the Friends of the Kaw.  (accommodates 2 adults and 2 kids under 10 or 1 child over 10)



Families can work together to write the story and help the younger people with the quiz. The contest will have three major award packages: 

·      Adult, 18 and older,

·      Youth, 17 and younger. 

·      Family  

If you are struggling writing your story, please feel free to contact Phil Taunton at 620-342-5016 or [email protected]


Riverbank Cleanup below SpringHill Suites, Lawrence, KS

Join Friends of the Kaw on Sunday, December 9th, 2012 from 1 to 3pm to clean up the south side of the Kansas River below Bowersock Dam in Lawrence.  We will meet at the HeartlandCommunity Health Center parking lot just north of New York and 

E. 7th Street


What to wear: closed toe shoes, work gloves, long pants and long sleeves (dress appropriately for the weather – the event will be canceled if it is raining, or snowing.)

Optional to bring: small shovels, wire cutters and buckets for carrying heavy items.

Friends of the Kaw will provide trash bags, water, soda and snacks. SpringHill Suites is providing a dumpster for all trash collected. Sunflower Recycling is providing recycling services for all recyclables.

Friends of the Kaw’s Lawrence GiveBack Charity 10K team will also be earning flags for the competition to earn a cash donation.  You can register for a Lawrence GiveBack card at this event and help us raise funds all year round.

For more information contact the Kansas Riverkeeper at 913 963 3460 or at[email protected]! See you on Sunday!

World Soil Day is December 5th

World Soil Day is December 5th

World Soil Day is a day to remember that we owe our existence to those few inches of living and life-giving topsoil.

Soil is a living and life-giving substance, without which we would perish.

As world population and food production demands rise, keeping our soil healthy and productive is of paramount importance. So much so that we believe improving the health of our Nation’s soil is one of the most important endeavors of our time.

By focusing more attention on soil health and by educating our customers and the public about the positive impact healthy soils can have on productivity and conservation, we can help our Nation’s farmers and ranchers feed the world more profitably and sustainably – now and for generations to come.

The resources on this soil health section of our site are designed to help visitors understand the basics and benefits of soil health – and to learn about Soil Health Management Systems from farmers who are using those systems.

So whether you’re a farmer, a researcher, a conservationist or an interested citizen, the information on this site will help you “Unlock the Secrets in the Soil.”

Unlock the Secrets in the Soil

Five year farm bill gets new life

by David Rogers


House and Senate farm bill leaders edged closer Thursday, joined in a last ditch effort —together with Agriculture Secy. Tom Vilsack—to put in place a new five-year plan before the end of this Congress.

Vilsack played host to the gathering of the top four Republicans and Democrats on the House and Senate Agriculture Committees. And he told reporters later that “absolutely” he remained optimistic that a bill can be completed before Dec. 31 and the focus must be on that goal, not a simple extension.

“What I was interested in doing today was basically get all four folks who are critical to this process in the room at the same time talking to each other and we’ve accomplished that,” Vilsack said. “There is a commitment to work and try to get this resolved. The countryside needs a five year farm bill, rural America needs a five year farm bill.”

The fact that Vilsack felt compelled to intercede reflects the drift that has set in since last June when the Senate surprised many doubters by passing its farm bill with strong bipartisan support in June. The House Ag panel quickly followed with its own version –only to be blocked from coming to the floor by Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and the GOP leadership. And in the months since, House Agriculture Committee Chairman Frank Lucas (R-Okla.) has taken himself more out of the mix, awaiting a signal from Boehner.

Much as Senate Agriculture Committee Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) insists that the four have never stopped talking, Vilsack clearly felt it was “progress” to have them all in the same room. And as part of the effort to get a House-Senate deal, Kansas Sen. Pat Roberts, the ranking Republican on the Senate Ag Committee, appears to be showing more flexibility in shaping the commodity title to include some form of price supports important to Southern producers—something he has strongly opposed in the past.

“There is a concerted effort to get a five year farm bill,” Roberts said after the meeting held at the Agriculture Department.

“We are looking forward to working together to get a five-year farm bill. We want to get a farm bill done,” Stabenow said.

Just as Roberts may be moving, Lucas himself signaled a little more independence in reply to a question asking if he felt free to be part of the renewed talks “without Boehner assigning” him to do so. “As chairman of my committee I always have the option and the ability to work on good policy and legislation,” Lucas said.

For his part, Vilsack sidestepped any question about what authority the White House might have given him to negotiate on food stamp savings in the bill—a major demand from House Republicans and likely issue in the deficit reduction talks now between Boehner and President Barack Obama.

“We didn’t get into specifics and I am not going to get into specifics today,” the secretary said, preferring to characterize his role as a “facilitator.”

“It was about facilitating that conversation,” Vilsack said. “What we wanted to do today was accomplished, which was to get everybody in the room at the same time at the same place talking to one another. That’s been accomplished. That’s progress.”

“There is just a consistent drumbeat, they meaning the countryside wants a five year farm bill…There was a commitment on the part of all four of the folks in that room today to look at a five year farm bill. That’s what to focus on, a five year farm bill. It wasn’t on an extension.

Benefits of Walking/Bicycling to School

Active Living Research recently released three new research briefs featuring evidence on policies, programs and practices that support walking and bicycling to school. When children can safely and easily walk or bicycle to school, they get more physical activity-something that can help prevent obesity and promote good health. Research can help make the case for Safe Routes to School to legislators, funders, school officials, city officials and parents, so share the info you find in these three briefs to strengthen your message:

The Impact of State Safe Routes to School-related Laws on Active Travel to School Policies and Practices in U.S. Elementary Schools

Program Practices and Demographic Factors Associated with Federal Funding for the Safe Routes to School Program in the United States

Impact of a Pilot Walking School Bus Intervention on Children’s Pedestrian Safety Behaviors: A Pilot Study

Update on Sportsmen’s Act of 2012

The following is an update regarding the status of the Sportsman’s Act of 2012 (S. 3525). It gives a little more information on what is being done to bring S. 3525 up for another vote. There is still time to contact Senator Roberts to urge him to support the transfer the Sodsaver provision of the Farm Bill into S. 3525 to offset 3525’s expenses. If you have any questions, please let me know. Thanks.
Steve Sorensen
Conservation Vice President
Kansas Wildlife Federation
Kansas Conservation Coalition

I want to take this opportunity to give you an update on the status of an important piece of legislation that you may have read about this week in some news outlets – The Sportsmen’s Act of 2012 (S. 3525) sponsored by Senator Jon Tester (D-MT).

We have been working closely with Senator Tester’s office on this bill. Last week, the bill was brought up on the Senate floor and was expected to receive final vote consideration on Monday evening. Unfortunately, instead of it passing by an anticipated comfortable vote margin, the entire Republican caucus, lead by Senator Jeff Sessions (R-AL) used the bill to pick a fight with the Democrats over budget politics.

The Senate attack claimed the bill’s action to raise the price of the Duck Stamp (paid by waterfowl hunters since 1935 to protect habitat and provide access) is a “tax” thus subject to arcane rules that would in essence scuttle the bill’s chance to advance. This point of order was sustained when a 50-44 vote failed to reach the required 60 votes to overturn it. As a result, the Tester bill is frozen from further consideration unless and until the issues are resolved.

Senate members have had closed-door discussions going on today to try to craft a solution so the bill doesn’t die. We’ll know early next week whether this can be resolved.

The Sportsmen’s Act contains a number of bi-partisan proposals that will have significant benefits for hunting, fishing and outdoor recreation. It is supported by many groups including Ducks Unlimited, Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation and Pheasants Forever.

In addition to the Duck Stamp increase, the bill will require 1.5% of the Land and Water Conservation Fund to be used to provide public access to currently inaccessible federal public lands for hunting and fishing. It will expand the Migratory Bird Habitat Investment and Enhancement Act and the Permanent Electronic Duck Stamp Act to allow the Secretary of the Interior to direct resources for the conservation of bird species and improve sportsmen access. It will reauthorize the Federal Land Transaction and Facilitation Act (FLTFA) that will benefit conservation. It will reauthorize the North American Wetlands Conservation Act – a program, which has protected 26.5 million acres. And it will reauthorize the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation which was recently tasked with distributing funds for Gulf restoration from BP’s criminal suit settlement.

As we all know, legislation is imperfect and can sometimes include undesirable provisions among its good qualities. One provision in the Tester bill that NWF opposed was language that would exempt EPA from regulating lead toxics in sporting ammunition and fishing tackle. NWF has several conservation policy resolutions passed by our state affiliates that call for the phase out of lead in the environment, including sporting equipment. We were unsuccessful in persuading Tester to drop this NRA supported provision from his bill, but have been clear in that we would continue to look for future opportunities to correct this provision. In spite of our difference on this one issue, NWF strongly supports the underlying bill and deplores the political shenanigans that may scuttle it for this congressional session.

Streamed below is a related Washington Post article which notes NWF’s support.

We will continue to be deeply engaged in this issue and will update you as conditions merit.



Larry J. Schweiger – President and CEO

National Wildlife Federation

The Washington Post

Senators try to bring back Sportsmen’s Act

November 29, 2012

A bipartisan conservation bill remained in limbo this week as Senate Republicans and Democrats worked to resolve GOP objections over the measure’s budgetary implications. The Sportsmen’s Act of 2012, a collection of 17 bills aimed at protecting habitat and providing better access for hunters and anglers, failed on a vote of 50 to 44 Monday night after Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) complained that the bill violated Senate budget rules.

The measure would raise the price of duck stamps, which hunters affix to their hunting licenses, to $25 from $15. Because the federal government uses the proceeds from the stamps to buy wetlands used by waterfowl, the Congressional Budget Office estimated this would mean $132 million in new spending in the next decade. Sessions argued that this expenditure would violate the Budget Control Act of 2011, which set spending caps on congressional panels including the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, which has jurisdiction over the program. “When we make an agreement, I think we ought to adhere to it,” Sessions said.

On Tuesday, Sen. Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) called the vote a sign of the Senate’s dysfunction, noting that Republicans voted to halt a bill that “probably has more agreement on the other side than this side.” The bill’s sponsor, Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mont.), is working with Senate leaders to find a way to both offset the spending and address Sessions’s objection that the bill violates the Constitution because revenue-raising measures originate in the House. “Senator Tester is working with Senator Sessions and stakeholders to pass a once-in-a-generation bill that saves money, expands hunting and fishing, and strengthens conservation efforts,” wrote Tester spokesman Aaron Murphy in an e-mail. “He believes the merits of this bipartisan proposal will rise above minor political hurdles.”

The bill’s backers include the National Rifle Association, the National Wildlife Federation and the White House. The House has passed its version of the bill, which has a few differences, including language blocking the president from declaring any new national monuments under the Antiquities Act.