Lonely Planet Writer

Picture perfect: US National Park Service hosts competition for best photos to celebrate 100 years

As America’s National Park Service celebrates 100 years, travellers and amateur photographers can enter a photo contest and show off their favourite shots from parks around the country.

Glen Canyon National Recreation Area.
Glen Canyon National Recreation Area. Image by Yang Lu, Share the Experience 2015 photo contest

It is the fifth year of the Share the Experience Contest, which is the official federal recreation lands photo competition. Last year, more than 15,000 photos were submitted in the contest, which ran from 1 May to 31 December, 2015.

The foundation has announced the winners from last year, with a photo shot at the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area in Utah by Yang Lu, taking the top prize in the 2015.

The contest is held by the National Park Foundation, the official charity for America’s national parks and partners the Active Network and Celestron.

Joshua Tree National Park.
Joshua Tree National Park. Image by Koustubh Kulkarni, Share the Experience 2015 photo contest

The second place winner was Koustubh Kulkarni for a picture taken at 49 Palms Trail at Joshua Tree National Park in California.

Badlands National Park.
Badlands National Park. Image by Erik Fremsted, Share the Experience 2015 photo contest

In this year’s competition, the top prize is US$10,000, followed by $5,000 and $3,000 for second and third place. Winners can also receive outdoor gear provided by Celestron, hotel packages courtesy of the Historic Hotels of America, and an annual Federal Recreational Lands Pass. Learn more about how to enter the competition here.

Death Valley National Park.
Death Valley National Park. Image by Sarah Gustafson, Share the Experience 2015 photo contest

The National Park Service is holding a variety of initiatives to celebrate its centennial year, including 16 days of free entry for the 127 parks that charge a fee. The next free days will be held from 25 to 28 August to celebrate the birthday of NPS.

There are more than 400 parks in the National Park system and the most visited parks last year were Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Grand Canyon National Park, Rocky Mountain National Park, Yosemite National Park, Yellowstone National Park, Zion National Park, Olympic National Park, Grand Teton National Park, Acadia National Park and Glacier National Park.