Your top 10 outdoor stories of 2009?

OK, I’ll admit it – I need some help.

I’m in the beginnings of writing a column on the top 10 stories on the Kansas outdoors for 2009.

I’d sure appreciate some of your ideas and feedback.

Here’s a partial list of what I’m considering.

Zebra mussels - One of our state’s most unwanted invasive species was found in several new waters this year.

Deer permits – Meeting legislative mandate Wildlife and Parks issued record numbers of deer permits to non-resident hunters. That’s not real popular with general resident hunters.

CRP reductions – Kansas is losing many thousands of acres of Conservation Reserve Program grasses. It’s provided valuable habitat in central and western Kansas for more than 20 years.

Cheney fish populations – All but written-off as a wasted lake because of the white perch infestation a few years ago, Cheney Lake now has some of the best year-classes of young game fish in the state.

Lesser prairie chickens - The feds have upgraded their concerns over the nation’s lesser prairie chicken population. Some groups have asked Wildlife and Parks to put them on the state’s endangered species list. But numbers remain strong across much of their Kansas range.

High gun and ammo sales – Fear of strict gun and ammunition control legislation from the current administration in Washington gets much of the credit for driving firearm and ammo sales to record levels in 2009. That also means record amounts of excise tax money will go towards wildlife management.

Those are a few of my ideas for within the top 10. I’m also kicking around whooping cranes, pheasant and quail populations, the Arkansas River access plan, fishing license sales and changes within state parks.

I’d sure appreciate some other opinions, please. Don’t spend too long thinking about it. The story may run this weekend.

Thanks