Kansas State Parks, Fishing Lakes to Remain Open to the Public

Photo Courtesy of KDWPT
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PRATT – The Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism (KDWPT) has developed a plan to keep Kansas’ 28 state parks, 63 state fishing lakes, and more than 100 wildlife areas open to the public during the COVID-19 crisis. In addition, KDWPT’s online and mobile sales options allow Kansans to purchase the licenses, permits and reservations they need without risk of exposure to the COVID-19 coronavirus.

“We’re committed to ensuring Kansas outdoors remain accessible to all, and that Kansans have safe and healthy recreation opportunities during this unprecedented crisis,” KDWPT Secretary Brad Loveless said. “There’s no better place to be right now than out in nature, where social distancing is a breeze. We encourage families across the state to get outside, get fresh air, go fishing or for a hike, and enjoy our natural spaces.”

Beginning March 23, 2020, KDWPT will temporarily close regional and district offices for two weeks; however, state park staff will work in limited capacities to ensure Kansas’ state parks remain open to the public, and that park facilities are regularly cleaned and disinfected. Though often adjoined, KDWPT state parks are separate from U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) facilities, which will be closed. Visitors can locate an open KDWPT state park nearest them by visiting ksoutdoors.com/State-Parks/Locations.

Thanks to the advent of KDWPT’s mobile apps – CampIt KS and HuntFish KS – visitors can reserve campsites, purchase fishing licenses, renew boat registrations and check rules and regulations all from their mobile devices, removing the need for in-person transactions at KDWPT offices. Licenses can be printed on home desktop printers or most can be stored as PDFs within the apps on mobile devices.

Kansas state parks offer 10,000 campsites and hundreds of miles of trails open to hiking, biking and horseback riding. Parks offer convenient access for boating and fishing, and some parks have shooting ranges. Small, family-friendly state fishing lakes are scattered across the state and provide more than 5,000 total surface acres of fishing opportunities close to home.

All public land regulations and license requirements remain in effect. Check with local governments for access restrictions to community lakes and USACE-operated parks.

For more on Kansas state parks, and other outdoor recreation opportunities in Kansas, visit ksoutdoors.com. For more information on COVID-19 in Kansas, and to sign up for daily updates, visit the Kansas Department of Health and Environment website at kdheks.gov/coronavirus.

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Derek Nester was born and raised in Blue Rapids and graduated from Valley Heights High School in 2000. He attended Cowley College in Arkansas City and Johnson County Community College in Overland Park studying Journalism & Media Communications. In 2002 Derek joined Taylor Communications, Inc. in Salina, Kansas working in digital media for 550 AM KFRM and 100.9 FM KCLY. Following that stop, he joined Dierking Communications, Inc. stations KNDY AM & FM as a board operator and fill-in sports play-by-play announcer. Starting in 2005 Derek joined the Kansas City Chiefs Radio Network as a Studio Coordinator at 101 The Fox in Kansas City, a role he would serve for 15 years culminating in the Super Bowl LIV Championship game broadcast. In 2021 he moved to Audacy, formerly known as Entercom Communications, Inc. and 106.5 The Wolf and 610 Sports Radio, the new flagship stations of the Kansas City Chiefs Radio Network, the largest radio network in the NFL. Through all of this, Derek continues to serve as the Digital Media Director for Sunflower State Radio, the digital and social media operations of Dierking Communications, Inc. and the 6 radio stations it owns and operates across Kansas.