Public invited to attend all sessions at fairgrounds in Kinsley

KINSLEY -- The Kansas Wildlife and Parks Commission will conduct a public meeting and hearing Thursday, Oct. 20 at the Edwards County Fairgrounds in Kinsley. The afternoon session will begin at 1:30 p.m. The evening public hearing will begin at 7 p.m. The public is invited to attend all sessions. A tour of nearby Circle K Ranch is also open to all interested persons and will begin at the fairgrounds at 9 a.m.

The afternoon session will begin with department reports on anticipated department initiatives for the 2006 session of the Kansas Legislature, as well as the department’s Fiscal Year 2007 budget. Other topics of discussion during the afternoon session will include the following:

  • status of the department’s new automated licensing system;
  • proposed 2005 recreational trail grant applications;
  • ecological impacts of wind farms; and
  • issues relating to proposed acquisition of the Circle K Ranch and its relation to stream flows in the Arkansas River.

Commissioners will also conduct a workshop session, in preparation for potential future public hearing action on proposed regulations related to the following:

  • exotic cat, mountain lion, bear, and wolf ownership;
  • provisions for the issuance of Commission big game permits, in which seven permits will be made available in 2006 to nonprofit organizations for use in raising money for conservation programs; and
  • review of regulations governing big game hunting and permitting.

The afternoon session will conclude with a presentation on the Kinsley Kids Classic, an annual recreational shooting event conducted by members of the Kinsley Gun Club. The afternoon session will recess at 5 p.m.

The evening public hearing will convene at 7 p.m. at the same location. The commission will discuss department recommendations for regulation changes related to the following:

  • revocation of all regulations governing fees, permitting, and reporting requirements for commercial guides in Kansas. The action is being taken in response to the 2005 Kansas Legislature’s passage of law (HB 2466), which repeals all statutory provisions relating to commercial guides services. The law takes effect Jan. 1, 2006;
  • changing boat registration fees to $30 for a three-year registration. Currently, owners of motorboats or sailboats pay registration fees of $20 for boats under 16 feet long, and $25 for boats 16 feet or longer. The proposed change would eliminate the length categories, and impose the same registration fee for all motorboats or sailboats. Owners of canoes, kayaks, and other boats that are not powered by motor or sail are not required to register those vessels. The additional revenues would be used to improve boating education, enforcement, and access;
  • preliminary Secretary’s Orders for fish creel and length limits for 2006. Based on current information, and pending the fall fish sampling efforts of biologists, no changes are being proposed for the state’s large reservoirs. The department is proposing addition of Garnett-Crystal Lake (formerly Garnett City Lake South) to the state’s list of designated trout waters; and
  • addition of two shot types (tungsten-iron-copper-nickel shot and tungsten-iron-tin shot) to the list of nontoxic shot types approved for hunting of waterfowl, coot, rail, snipe, and sandhill cranes.

If necessary, the Commission will recess on Oct. 20 and reconvene at 9 a.m. Oct. 21 at the same location to complete its business. Time will be set aside in all sessions for public comment on topics which are not on the agenda. If notified in advance, the department will have an interpreter available for the hearing impaired. To request an interpreter, call the Kansas Commission of Deaf and Hard of Hearing at 1-800-432-0698. Any individual with a disability may request other accommodations by contacting the Commission Secretary at 620-672-5911.

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