In celebration of the upcoming first official day of summer on June 20, the National Park Foundation is announcing the winners of the special edition 2020 “Best of the Decade” Share the Experience photo contest and launching the 2021 competition. Last year’s contest invited amateur photographers to submit their favorite shots from a decade of adventures in national parks and recreational lands and waters, with safety top of mind.
View the collection of winning photos on the National Park Foundation’s blog today.
“Each photo is a unique perspective of the beauty and history that surrounds us. More than natural beauty, the images capture moments of wonder, inspiration, and deep personal connection experienced by people across the country,” said National Park Foundation President and CEO Will Shafroth. “This summer, the National Park Foundation is excited to join our partners in safely welcoming people back, and welcoming some folks for their very first time, to national parks and recreational lands and waters.”
Over 13,400 photos were submitted to the contest, which ran from June 25, 2020, through December 31, 2020.
Top Three Winners
- The warm glow of a flashlight-lit rooftop tent invites onlookers into the scene as they also admire the Milky Way galaxy rising above the San Juan National Forest. This photo, captured by Mark Gruenhaupt, is the grand prize winner of the 2020 Share the Experience photo contest and will be featured on the National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Pass.
- A photograph by Rudi Jensen of his brother walking out to the edge of the stunning shoreline at Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore took second place.
- Third place went to Kathy Ritter for her photo of a magical moment when the orangish yellows of the sky created an unforgettable reflection in the water at Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests.
View the full collection of winning photos, including the category winners and fan favorites, on the National Park Foundation’s blog.
“Booz Allen Hamilton is proud to celebrate the 2020 Share the Experience contest winners who have demonstrated that even during a challenging year, the outdoors provided an outlet for the public, along with moments of wonder, beauty and normalcy,” said Julie McPherson, executive vice president, Booz Allen Hamilton. “Our firm is proud to support the National Park Foundation and participating federal agencies to help everyone, from seasoned outdoor enthusiasts to families heading out to their local park for the first time, capture these inspiring moments, and discover and plan many more incredible recreation opportunities through the Recreation.gov website and mobile app.”
The National Park Foundation is also excited to launch the 2021 Share the Experience photo contest with co-sponsor Booz Allen Hamilton, the contractor and partner for the Recreation.gov platform. This year’s contest invites amateur photographers to submit their favorite recent shots, while continuing to keep safety top of mind.
The grand prize for the winning image is $10,000, followed by $5,000 and $3,000 for second and third place. Winners also receive outdoor gear provided by Celestron, Hydro Flask and Osprey Packs, hotel packages courtesy of Historic Hotels of America®, and an annual National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Pass.
Prizes will also be awarded for fan favorites and the following five categories:
Adventure & Recreation
- Share photos of your favorite activities and adventures highlighting the diversity of exhilarating moments for all that can be experienced on recreational lands and waters across the country – from fishing to hiking to interpretive tours and more. And be sure to #RecreateResponsibly!
Outdoors for All
- Featuring people, of all ages, backgrounds, and abilities, who love to explore and experience recreational lands and waters. Share photos of family and friends that demonstrate how recreational lands and waters are for all of us.
Historical & Cultural
- From the homes of civil rights leaders to spaces that bore witness to national movements, to battlefields where people fought for freedom and more, this category spotlights the multifaceted and multicultural stories of the United States and the places that preserve them.
Scenic, Seasons & Landscapes
- The scenic vistas, sweeping landscapes, and beautiful flora of recreational lands and waters can be found in far-off locales or closer to home than you think. Capture fall foliage, forests, winter wonderlands, flowers, mountains, deserts, canyons, lakes, seashores, rivers, and more.
- Take a walk on the wild side with photos of the incredibly diverse array of animals that call recreational lands and waters home. Remember to keep your distance and stay safe!
The 2021 Share the Experience photo contest is hosted by the National Park Foundation and Booz Allen Hamilton in partnership with the National Park Service, the Bureau of Land Management, the Bureau of Reclamation, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the U.S. Forest Service, and Recreation.gov. Share the Experience is the official photo contest of America’s national parks and federal recreational lands and waters, showcasing the more than 500 million acres of federal lands and waters and drawing entries from across the United States. The 2021 contest is now open and accepting entries through December 31.
Please visit sharetheexperience.org to learn more about the contest, including how to submit an image, the full list of prizing, and the rules. You can also follow @NationalParkFoundation on Instagram for photo inspiration.
ABOUT THE NATIONAL PARK FOUNDATION
The National Park Foundation works to protect wildlife and park lands, preserve history and culture, educate and engage youth, and connect people everywhere to the wonder of parks. We do it in collaboration with the National Park Service, the park partner community, and with the generous support of donors, without whom our work would not be possible. Learn more at nationalparks.org.