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KWPT Commission approves removal of backcountry access pass

PRATT – In a 5-0 vote, Kansas Wildlife, Parks and Tourism (KWPT) commissioners recently approved the removal of a backcountry access pass, $50, at their Aug. 15 meeting in Overland Park. The pass, established late last year, would have been a requirement for hikers looking to explore Kansas’ up-and-coming state park, Little Jerusalem Badlands, without a guide.

“Kansas state park staff believe our parks should be accessible to all, and removing this fee will make Little Jerusalem Badlands State Park just that – accessible,” said Kansas state parks director Linda Lanterman. “We’ve hired a naturalist who will instead offer informative, guided tours on a regular basis once the park opens.”

Other items recently voted on and approved by the KWPT Commission include:

• A reduction of disabled veterans’ license fees by half. This change will allow Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism staff to better meet future demand by spreading funding further, as applications for disabled veteran’s licenses have routinely surpassed available funds in recent years.

• The removal of otters from current furbearer and coyote management units, so that designated otter management units may be established. In coming seasons, hunters will be able to take one, two or five otters depending on which otter management unit they hunt.

• A change in the start time of furbearer seasons. All hunting, trapping and running seasons for furbearers will now begin at 12:01 a.m.

To view complete video and audio recordings of the Aug. 15 Commission meeting visit

The next KWPT Commission meeting is scheduled for Thursday, Sept. 19, at the Kansas Wetlands Education Center, 592 NE K-156, Great Bend.