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Stunning Photos to Inspire Your #RecreateResponsibly Adventures this Summer


WASHINGTON—With sunrays shining through the treetops, a woman’s magical moment amidst towering giants at California's Redwood National and State Parks is the grand prize winner of the 2019 Share the Experience photo contest, hosted by the National Park Foundation, the official nonprofit partner of the National Park Service. Captured by Sam Jezak of Redwood City, CA, this image will be featured on the America the Beautiful – the National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Pass. View the complete collection of winning photos on the National Park Foundation’s blog today.

“The Share the Experience photo contest reminds us of the fun, comfort, and community that national parks and public lands and waters offer all of us, and that many can be found close to home,” said National Park Foundation President and CEO Will Shafroth. “As you enjoy this year’s winning photos, the National Park Foundation and our partners hope you’ll be inspired to get out and #RecreateResponsibly.”

The National Park Foundation is also excited to launch a special edition 2020 “Best of the Decade” Share the Experience photo contest with co-sponsor Booz Allen Hamilton, the contractor and partner for the platform. This special edition of the contest opens up the submission guidelines to invite amateur photographers to submit their favorite shots from a decade of adventures, from 2010 to 2020, while keeping the #RecreateResponsibly and Keep Safety in the Picture principles top of mind this year.

“As demonstrated by these amazing photos, national parks and other public lands offer endless opportunities for inspiration, recreation and education,” said National Park Service Deputy Director David Vela, exercising the authority of the Director. “Each photo transports us to a remarkable place to share a story of discovery and hopefully serves as encouragement for all of us to explore the great outdoors and make memories of our own.”

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.

“It’s obviously a breathtaking natural moment, but it also tells an important story to me. The human in the photo is my mom,” said Sam Jezak, who took the winning image while on a road trip with his parents to Redwood National and State Parks. “All of my federal lands and wilderness exposure until my college years had been with my parents - most of our summer vacations centered around national parks and exploring landscapes different than our Kansas home.”

Redwood National and State Parks, which is cared for and managed by the National Park Service and California State Parks, is a great example of the types of partnerships that preserve public lands for all of us.

A photograph by Matt Brant from Hagerstown, MD, of Antietam National Battlefield took second place.

Third place went to Glenda Mueller of Rochester, MN, for her photo of Badlands National Park.

Prizes are also being awarded for 2019 fan favorites and the following six category winners:

  • Adventure and Outdoor Recreation
  • Family, Friends, and Fun
  • Historical and Cultural
  • Scenic, Seasons, and Landscapes
  • Urban Playgrounds
  • Wildlife

Over 9,000 photos were submitted to the contest, which ran from May 30, 2019, through December 31, 2019. This annual contest invites amateur photographers to submit their favorite views, moments, and adventures from America’s public lands and waters.

“Our team has been a proud supporter of the Share the Experience contest for many years. We congratulate the winners of the 2019 contest and look forward to seeing images participants submit for the 2020 contest, especially their favorites from the past decade,” said Rick DeLappe, Program Manager. “And as visitors venture out to our public lands and waters to create new memories, we encourage them to plan ahead and clearly understand public safety and health protocols.”

“Booz Allen Hamilton is proud to support the National Park Foundation, participating federal agencies, and by celebrating a decade of photos capturing memorable visitor experiences at national parks, forests, and other federal recreation areas across the country,” said Julie McPherson, executive vice president, Booz Allen Hamilton. “The website and mobile app are designed to help visitors discover and plan for thousands of incredible recreation opportunities so they can continue to #RecreateResponsibly this year and well into the future. The Share the Experience contest showcases the beautiful images captured at these locations – and the benefits of getting outdoors.”

The 2020 “Best of the Decade” 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 Share the Experience is the official photo contest of America’s national parks and federal recreational lands, showcasing the more than 500 million acres of federal lands and drawing entries from across the United States. The 2020 contest is now open and accepting entries through December 31.

For a full listing of prizing and rules, or to submit a photo, please visit You can also follow @GoParks on Instagram for photo inspiration.

The 2020 categories are:

  • Adventure and Outdoor Recreation
    From fishing to hiking to skating and more, highlighting the diversity of exhilarating moments for all that can be experienced on public lands and waters.
  • Family, Friends, and Fun
    Featuring people, of all ages, backgrounds, and abilities, who you love to adventure with on public lands and waters.
  • Historical and Cultural
    Spotlighting the multi-faceted and multi-cultural stories of the United States, both struggles and triumphs, through the lens of public lands and waters.
  • Scenic, Seasons, and Landscapes
    Showcasing the natural wonders, in every season, that take our breath away.
  • Urban Playgrounds
    Featuring the community treasures and outdoor experiences for all that can be found close to home when you’re living in or near a city.
  • Wildlife
    Sharing glimpses, from a safe distance, of the incredibly diverse array of plants and animals that call public lands and waters home.

Share the Experience is a great example of the countless ways there are to #FindYourPark and #BringHomeAStory. Find Your Park / Encuentra Tu Parque inspires all people to connect with, celebrate, and support America’s national parks and community-based programs. #FindYourPark invites people to discover and share their own unique connections to the natural landscapes, vibrant culture, and rich history found across the country. helps visitors get out there, experience America, and bring home a story through travel recommendations, trip planning tools, and reservations at thousands of locations across the country. #BringHomeAStory encourages visitors to find their next outdoor adventure or federal recreation experience to create lasting memories and inspire others to do the same.

The National Park Foundation is the official charity of America’s national parks and nonprofit partner to the National Park Service. Chartered by Congress in 1967, the National Park Foundation raises private funds to help protect more than 84 million acres of national parks through critical conservation and preservation efforts and connect all Americans with their incomparable natural landscapes, vibrant culture, and rich history. Find out more and become a part of the national park community at

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