Mankato – another day at the office

I’ll soon be leaving for a work-day that could be 15 hours long, but it won’t involve dawn to dark fishing for crappie at Kirwin Lake or walking up roosters at Hugoton.

It’ll be an up and back trip to scenic Mankato covering a Kansas Wildlife and Parks Commission meeting. If we’re lucky we’ll get a dozen members of the general public in attendance. There are usually more Wildlife and Parks field people in the audience, mandated to be there in case a question related to their duties arises at the meeting.

The Eagle’s been regularly covering commission meetings for at least 24 years.

We’ve been there when commissioners tried to conduct an illegal meeting many years ago and when a member of the public questioned if a Wildlife and Parks secretary had a conflict of interest.

And it’s been great to be there when something neat is announced. There was quite a bit of excitement when the agency came out with a plan to fund state parks, and up state park attendance, with a slight tax on vehicle registrations. (I was really hoping that one would make it through the legislature.)

Something the public needs to know about could pop-up at any minute.

This meeting promises to provide plenty to hold everyone’s attention. Liberal duck limits may be set. The possibility of increasing fees for deer permits and some state park permits will get serious discussion.

We’ll get an update about the petition several groups made to have lesser prairie chickens put on the state’s threatened and endangered species list.

It also gives me a chance to get a face-to-face conversation with biologists and conservation officials I often interview over the telephone.

It’ll be a long day but it’s only about a 5-hour round-trip drive. That’s what it is to our farm and I’ve done that as many as three times in the same week. Lately, after long days of working.

And it could be worse. The next meeting is in October – in Goodland.