May 8, 2014

State parks in Missouri, Kansas receive national acclaim

State parks in the region account for one-sixth of the picks for the media outlet’s list of “36 Stunning U.S. State Parks.”

Looking for a scenic state park? You don’t have to travel far if you live in Missouri or Kansas.

The region was well-represented on the list of “36 Stunning U.S. State Parks” that The Active Times recently released.

In fact, the two states accounted for one-sixth of the listings, three from each state.

Kanopolis State Park in central Kansas ranked 14th, the highest rating in the two-state area. It was recognized for its hiking trails through canyons, prairies and wooded creek bottoms.

Lake Scott State Park in western Kansas ranked 23rd and Wilson State Park in the north-central part of the state was 34th.

In Missouri, the Katy Trail State Park that runs across much of the state was the top pick, ranking 28th. The former rail line that was converted to a long trail was recognized for its beautiful views from a biking and hiking path that runs along the Missouri River.

Ha Ha Tonka State Park at Lake of the Ozarks was the 30th choice, and Johnson’s Shut-Ins State Park in southeastern Missouri ranked 35th.

High Point State Park in New Jersey was the top pick, recognized for its scenic views atop Kittatinny Ridge, the highest point in the state.

Kansas crappie fishing

The crappies in Kansas reservoirs are finally coming to the shore.

The erratic weather delayed the much-awaited moment when the big panfish move to the shallows to spawn. But it appears that it’s finally here.

Good numbers of crappies are being caught along spawning banks at Pomona, Perry, Clinton, Hillsdale and Tuttle Creek lakes. This spring’s spawn may be short-lived because it is relatively late. But expect good fishing for the next week or two.

A winged gala

If you’re a bird lover, plan on attending “Wings Over Weston.”

The celebration of birds and butterflies will be 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday at Weston Bend State Park, 1660 Missouri 45, near Weston.

The free event will feature live birds on display, nature exhibits, guided hikes and children’s activities. Live eagle shows will be put on by the Dickerson Park Zoo, there will be banding demonstrations by the Missouri River Bird Observatory, and rescued birds from Operation Wildlife will be on display.

Falconry demonstrations, the sale of native plants and live music will be included.

The event also is a celebration of Platte County’s 175th anniversary. Those attending will vote on a selection for the official bird of the county.

“Wings Over Weston” is co-sponsored by the Missouri Department of Conservation, the Burroughs Audubon Society, the Missouri Department of Natural Resources, Platte County Parks and Recreation and other public and private organizations.

Politically correct carp

A bill in the Minnesota Senate recently proposed changing the name of Asian carp to “invasive carp.”

The reason? Bill sponsor John Hoffman said the term Asian carp “casts people from Asian cultures in a negative light.”

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