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The Fish and Game Stamps of Marion County, Kansas

Fishing Stamps Issued

 

In 1939 the County Board of Commissioners developed a set of rules and regulations for the Park and Lake. Section 14a is of historic significance to collectors of fish and game stamps. It reads, “All residents of Marion County, Kansas, who are required to purchase a state fishing license [all persons 16 to 69] shall secure a permit [stamp] which shall cost twenty-five cents ($0.25) and attach to said license; at the expiration of any fishing license another permit which shall cost twenty five cents shall be secured and attached to the fishing license.” (Anonymous, 1939). And so it was that with this directive the first fish and game stamps issued by a local government in the United States were to be put into use.

This very nearly was not the case, however, for notes made by Jerry Mullikin previous to the rules and regulations being adopted show that originally a rubber stamp on resident’s state licenses had been contemplated before it was decided to go with adhesive stamps (see Figures 13a and b). 

 

 

Figure 13. Notes made by Jerry Mulliken show that originally a rubber stamp on resident’s state licenses was considered before deciding on adhesive stamps.

 

 

Figure 13b. The letter that changed the world for collectors of fish and game stamps.

 

 

Also, if the State Fish and Game Commission had its way, it is unlikely that the stamps would have ever been put into use. Only county residents were required to purchase the stamps. They  were intended to identify and convey to residents an economic advantage over non-residents. Section 14b of the rules and regulations continued, “All persons who are non-residents of Marion County, Kansas, and who are required to purchase a state fishing license, shall purchase a permit [not a stamp] which shall cost One Dollar ($1.00) per day or Seven and 50-100 Dollars ($7.50) per year… This policy decision did not sit well with the Fish and Game Commission, and Director Guy D. Josserand wrote at least two letters to Jerry Mullikin voicing the state commission’s displeasure. The first letter, dated March 12, 1940, was lengthy. Some excerpts are as follows:

“…relative to the rules and regulations put into effect on the Marion County Lake by the County Commissioners, in which there is a discriminatory charge made for fishing in the Marion County Lake, as between residents of the county and non-residents… We believe this idea of a discriminatory charge by counties is a shortsighted policy… Personally, we deplore the fact that states make discriminatory charge for non-residents… We should welcome the person who wants to come within the borders of Kansas for recreation, rather than set up a barrier against him… We suggest this letter is not made public.”

The second letter, sent shortly before the official opening of the lake is reproduced in Figure 14. These letters demonstrate that Marion County was pressured by the state to change their policy and if successful it might have prevented stamps from being issued to county residents. A photo of Mullikin and County Commissioner Karl Moshbacher having a serious discussion in front of the lake at this time is shown in Figure 15. Mullikin appears steadfast.

 

 

Figure 14. The State Fish and Game Commission attempted to pressure Marion County into changing its stamp policy.

 

 

Figure 15. Jerry Mulliken (left) talking with County Commissioner Karl Moshbacher in front of the lake.

 

 

The County Commissioners were not intimidated and the stamps were put into service as planned. As explained by John Waner, a long time county resident who succeeded Mullikin as Park and Lake Supervisor in 1956, “It was felt that because county residents paid to maintain the park facilities through their local taxes, it was only fair to allow them to enjoy the facilities at a reduced cost.” 

Research has revealed a document which shows the [Marion] Board of County Commissioners approved several changes to the original rules and regulations on January 17, 1941. At this time Sec, 14, (b) effectively reduced non-resident fees to fifty cents daily and $5.00 yearly (see Figures 16 and 17). Even with the reduction, the Marion County stamps continued to allow residents to enjoy fishing at the lake for a fraction of the fee charged non-residents.

 

 

Figure 16. In January of 1941, the fees for non-resident fishermen were lowered.

 

Figure 17. Daily non-resident permit to fish issued in 1947. Note the daily fee is 50 cents  – as compared to a yearly fee of 25 cents for residents.

 

 

 

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