Lonely Planet Writer

Lesser-known US National Parks contest

guadalupeFor today's National Parks Wednesday we want to turn the spotlight on the lesser-known areas in the US National Parks system. Among the 58 National Parks there are a number that many people have never heard of, and beyond the true National Parks there are the several hundred other properties in the system designated as National Historic Sites, National Monuments, National Recreation Areas, National Seashores, National Scenic Trails and more.

Famous parks like Yosemite, Yellowstone, and the Grand Canyon get most of the attention, but there are countless other areas worthy of our attention. Within the National Parks system you can visit anything from Alcatraz to Sand Creek Massacre National Historic site, the newest member of the parks system; you can trek from Canada to Mexico along the Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail; you can even pay your respects at the grave of John Muir or, if you prefer, Eugene O'Neill's treasured canine companion "Silverdene Emblem" (a.k.a. "Blemie").

The premise of this week's contest is simple: if someone loved one of the world famous National Parks, what other lesser-known park would they love and why?

A few examples to get you started:

"If you loved the Grand Canyon, you might also love Great Basin National Park in Nevada. Great Basin is like the Grand Canyon turned inside-out: a massive mountain-island surrounded by a desert-ocean on all sides. If the Grand Canyon was too busy for you, Great Basin is the antidote: few people seem to know about it, and even fewer end up going. Those that do make the trip through the desert to Great Basin are rewarded with peace, quiet, campsites in shaded aspen groves, and dramatic scenery that most will never see."

"If you loved Yellowstone, you will also love Lassen Volcanic National Park. Lassen may not have the extensive range of geysers you'll find in Yellowstone, but the ones they have are pretty remarkable and you get the added benefit of the multiple volcanic cones to explore, and the relatively easy hike to the top of the still active Mt. Lassen itself. Plus, who can complain about going to see geysers in a place called 'Bumpass Hell'?"

The contest

Here’s how it works: Each entry should answer the following question: if someone loved one of the world famous National Parks, what other lesser-known park would they love and why? Entries should be a maximum of 100 words, and they should follow the format of the examples above, starting with "If you loved ______" with a well-known National Park compared to a lesser-known park (can be any property in the National Parks System).

usabookPost your entries as a comment to this blog or email them to community@lonelyplanet.com with the subject "Lesser-known US National Parks contest" to enter. You can submit as many entries as you like. The author of the most creative and inspiring entry (as judged by Lonely Planet staff) will receive a free copy of Lonely Planet's brand-new pictorial The USA Book.

Contest ends Tuesday October 6 at 5pm GMT, and the winner will be announced on the Community blog shortly thereafter. Your entry must be yours and not infringe on any rights of third parties. Lonely Planet respects the privacy of others, and your personal information will only be used to tell you if you’ve won (see our privacy policy).

Good luck!

[Photo: As far as I can see, by Daniel James]