March 21, 2014

Free entry to all Kansas state parks, along with special events for the family

TOPEKA­ – Harsh winter weather has people longing for warmer days ahead, and the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism (KDWPT) has the perfect remedy for cabin fever. KDWPT invites outdoor enthusiasts to “Spring Into Summer” on Saturday, March 29 with a free entrance day and open houses at all Kansas state parks. Most parks will host special activities for the whole family to enjoy. Visit State Parks Open Houses to learn about the special events at participating parks.  

Plus, visitors can enter a statewide drawing to win a free one-night stay at a state park cabin of their choice. No purchase is necessary. The free one-night stay must be used in 2014, is subject to availability, and may be used for a single night or to extend a paid cabin reservation for another night. Limit one entry per person. The drawing will be held April 10, 2014. Local drawings will be held at each site for items such as T-shirts. Visitors do not need to be present to win.    

During Spring Into Summer, park goers can take advantage of low off-season camping permit prices. March 31 is the last day annual camping permits are priced at off-season discounts. On April 1, the prices increase to their regular prime-season levels. Visitors can purchase annual camping permits and make cabin or campsite reservations during the open houses, as well. For pricing information and to purchase permits online, go to the KDWPT website, ksoutdoors.com. For online permit purchases, click License/Permits. For campsite and cabin reservations, click Reservations.

Kansas motor vehicle owners can now buy an annual park vehicle permit as part of their vehicle registration process. The permit – called a Kansas State Parks Passport – costs $15.00, plus a 50 cents service fee to the county treasurer. This lower-price, non-transferable permit is available only during the vehicle registration process at a motor vehicle registration office, through the online vehicle registration site (www.kswebtags.org), or when registering by mail. The Kansas State Parks Passport will expire when the vehicle registration expires a year later.

The state parks and their scheduled events are listed below. All park offices will be open 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. The schedule is subject to change without notice. 

Cedar Bluff

  • Cabin and facility tours: 9:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.
  • Free hot dog feed: 12:00 p.m. - 1:00 p.m.
  • Drawings for one youth T-shirt, one adult T-shirt, one hoodie and one hat


  • Drawings for some T-shirts
  • Cabin tours and tour the Ninnescah Sailing Association facilities
  • Visit with members of the Cheney Lake Association 


  • Drawing for a free T-shirt
  • Cabin Open House:  9:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m., Wakarusa Valley Cabin
  • Animal Show-n-Tell: 11:00 a.m., 3:00 p.m. & 4:00 p.m., Park Office 
  • Search ‘n Find Activity: 10:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m., Prizes for all who participate
  • Craft Area: 10:00 a.m. - 3:00 pm   
  • Drawings for free T-shirts


  • Free Welcome Back breakfast: 7:00 a.m. – 9:00 a.m., Marina, hosted by Friends of Crawford State Park, Donations welcomed to fund the July fireworks display
  • Dedication for the Don Lamb Fishing Access Area: 10:00 a.m.
  • Disc golf tournament: 11:00 a.m., Disc golf area
  • Tours of the 160-acre Skinner Property: 1:00 p.m., Features history of the area prior to statehood and the “Bleeding Kansas” era
  • Tour a cabin: all day

Cross Timbers (Toronto Reservoir)

  • Timber Walker cabin tours: 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m., Features recent improvements
  • Personal watercraft simulator: 1:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m., Timber Walker Cabin
  • Courtesy boat inspections: 1:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m., Toronto Point East boat ramp


  • Cabin open for viewing, hot dogs and refreshments, games
  • 5K Run/Walk sponsored by Osage City Warmth Fund
  • Drawings for prizes

 El Dorado

  • Nature photography hike: 10:00 a.m., Walnut River Area trailhead in Eagle Pass campground.
  • Archery Range: Open all day
  • Archery lessons: 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m., Equipment provided
  • Cabin tour: 10:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m., Walnut River area
  • Free boat inspections: 8:00 a.m. – 12:00 pm., Park Office

Elk City

  • Fishing Derby: 1:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m., Kids Fishing Pond
  • Pasture Golf Tournament: Tee off 8:00 a.m. - 10:00 a.m.. $10 per team, First place prize awarded
  • Horseshoe Tournament: 3:00 p.m.  (2 Person Teams) $10 per team, First place prize awarded
  • Golf and horseshoe tournament proceeds benefit park projects
  • Free cookout: 5:00 p.m., Door prize drawings

Fall River

  • Willow Bend Cabin tours:10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m., Features recent improvements

Glen Elder (Waconda Lake)

  • Cabin open: 10:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.


  • Shooting range open: 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
  • Drawings for free T-shirts


  • Cabin open house: 9:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. 


  • Cabin tours: 9:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.
  • Levi Strong 10K and 2-mile Run/Walk Benefit/Fundraiser: 10:00 a.m., Willow Group Shelter Registration forms available on Facebook "TEAM LEVI STRONG: OUTRUN CANCER 10k and 2 Mile Run/Walk"
  • Lovewell and Glen Elder Fishing Forecasts: 1:30 p.m., Willow Group Shelter


  • Office tours: 8:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
  • Trout Derby: 7:00 a.m. - 5:30 p.m.
  • Drawings for a hoodie, two youth T- shirts, and two adult T-shirts


  • Crabapple Cottage open house: 8:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.                
  • Adventure race: Times vary
  • Drawings for a hoodie, two water bottles with floating key chain, two T-shirts


  • Guided horse trail rides: 10:30 a.m. and 11:30 a.m., Wild Horse Campground (or ride on your own)
  • Potluck covered dish dinner:1:00 p.m., Wild Horse Campground
  • Project report and live auction: 1:30 p.m., Wild Horse Campground
  • Drawings for a hoodie and two T-shirts


  • Cabin and shelterhouse tours: 9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.:
  • 3rd Annual Easter egg hunt: 1:00 p.m.
  • Open House at Lighthouse Bay Marina
  • Miss Teen Kansas and vendors at Southwind Shelter
  • Scavenger hunt, RV Show, Food vendors

Prairie Dog (Keith Sebelius Reservoir)

  • Adobe and school house tours: 9:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.
  • Cabin tours: 12:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.
  • Drawings for one youth T-shirt, one adult T-shirt, one hoodie and one hat

 Prairie Spirit Trail

  • Old Depot Museum in Ottawa: 10:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m., Walk, bike or bring your pet. Free Lunch

Scott (Lake Scott)

  • Cabin tours: 9:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.
  • Display of John Deere Gators and utility tractors: 10:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.
  • Display of Traeger Grills by Percival Packing: 10:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.
  • Refreshments
  • Drawings for coffee mug, plastic water bottle, baseball cap, hoodie and a T-shirt

Tuttle Creek

  • Archery Range: 10:00 - 2:00 p.m., Open for archery, slingshot, hatchet throwing, crossbow
  • Nature Bird Hike: 9:00 a.m. - 11:00 a.m. Meet at park office
  • Kiowa Cabin open house: 9:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m., refreshments served   
  • Hunter Education Field Day: 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m., Fancy Creek Range (Students must also attend classroom sessions at Green Valley Community Center March 25 and April 1 and pre-register at the park office)
  • Drawings for two T-shirts, a hoodie, coffee mug


  • Plainville Boat Shop will display boats and equipment: 10:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m.
  • Cabin tours: 9:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.
  • Refreshments
  • Drawings for two youth T-shirts, two adult T-shirts and a hoodie


  • Cabin open: 8:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.
  • Cabin tours: 9:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.
  • Refreshments