To conserve and enhance Kansas' wildlife and its habitats, ensuring current and future generations appreciate and enjoy these living resources and associated recreation, while informing the public of the status of Kansas' natural resources, gaining understanding and support in achieving this mission.
The Kansas Department of Wildlife & Parks (KDWP) is a cabinet-level agency with a Secretary appointed by the Governor. A seven-member, bipartisan commission, also appointed by the Governor, advises the Secretary and approves regulations governing outdoor recreation and fish and wildlife resources in Kansas. The commission conducts business during regular public sessions.
KDWP employs approximately 460 full-time employees in seven divisions: Executive Services, Administrative Services, Fisheries, Wildlife, Public Lands, Law Enforcement, Parks.
- 1905 - Fish and game laws were organized under the Kansas Fish and Game Department and implementation of a state law requiring a license to hunt.
- 1911 - The State Fish and Game Department was placed under the supervision of the University of Kansas Board of Regents
- 1925 - The Fish and Game Department was reorganized as the Kansas Forestry, Fish and Game Commission with three board members appointed by the Governor.
- 1927 - Commission was reorganized and was given approval to organize a warden service. Fishing licenses required of men 18-70.
- 1939 - Commission's three-member board was abolished by the legislature and replaced by a six-member bipartisan commission appointed by the Governor
- 1943 - Legislature gives the commission full authority to set seasons and dates
- 1955 - The legislature and Gov. Fred Hall create the State Park and Resources Authority.
- 1960 - First Kansas boating laws enacted
- 1987 - Gov. Mike Hayden signs executive order merging the State Park and Resources Authority and Fish and Game Commission to create the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks
- 2011 - Gov. Sam Brownback signs executive order moving the Division of Tourism from the Department of Commerce to the newly renamed Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism
- 2021 - Gov. Laura Kelly signs executive order returning the Division of Tourism to the Department of Commerce; reinstating the name Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks.