Volunteers Improve New Public Land in Kansas

Seven volunteers from Kansas BHA and two Pheasants Forever Habitat Specialists joined staff from Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks at Lovewell Wildlife Area to assist with an on-the-ground land stewardship project February 24, 2024.

Volunteers and workers cleared trees from fence lines, pulled old wooden posts, and rolled dilapidated barbed-wire fence on a 40-acre tract west of the White Rock Creek boat ramp and camping area. KDWP purchased the tract from Pheasants Forever in 2022 and previously cleared Eastern Redcedar and other invading trees from the property, which primarily consists of native grass and has historically been hayed since its conversion from cropland. KDWP plans to introduce grazing to the property this year and hopes to continue to promote native grass and forbs on the site, with a prescribed burn planned in 2025 if conditions and resources allow.

Kansas BHA coordinated the registration process and provided complimentary Walton’s merchandise to volunteers. Local and state agricultural groups, Boy Scouts, and legislators were directly invited, but unable to attend. Kansas BHA has worked with KDWP on several habitat projects, on both public and private land.

Lovewell Wildlife Area includes approximately 5,225 acres of land and water surrounding Lovewell Reservoir. KDWP manages the wildlife area for habitat, hunting, fishing, trapping, hiking, wildlife watching, and other outdoor opportunities. KDWP works with local producers to maintain agriculture on their properties and plans to continue invasive tree removal and habitat improvements on the rest of the area. Based on the wishes of previous and current landowners, KDWP also hopes to purchase approximately 265 acres adjacent to the existing wildlife area, pending future legislative approval, which will further enhance habitat, public access, and agriculture in the area.

The initial workday was scheduled for February 3, but due to weather conditions the alternate date was used. The change proved successful, and volunteers were treated to a picturesque spring day. Although the work was physically demanding, volunteers ended the day with an overwhelming sense of accomplishment and a new sense of appreciation for Kansas’ beautiful public lands.

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About Kansas BHA

Kansas BHA members value the freedom to hunt, fish, watch birds, trap, hike, camp, and engage in other outdoor pursuits. Our mission is to protect and preserve the few public lands and waters we have within our borders and open access to new public lands.

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