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New York State announces 2022 Outdoor Photo Contest

The state’s Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation (State Parks) and Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) today announced the launch of the 2022 Outdoor Photo Contest to highlight the best of New York’s natural beauty and special destinations among New York’s state campgrounds and parklands. The online contest runs for four monthsthrough mid-Octoberwith the winning images to be featured in statewide digital and print campaigns.

“With the challenges of the last two years, New York’s parks have drawn more visitors than ever before who are spending time with friends and family among nature,” said State Parks Commissioner Erik Kulleseid. “We encourage people who’ve captured their special moments and memories in our scenic outdoors to submit their favorite images, and we remind visitors planning new day trips and overnight getaways in our parks and campgrounds this season to share those fun adventures as well.”

“As more people enjoy the vast natural treasures here in New York State, we encourage people to snap a picture of those outdoor moments with their family and friends and share them with us,” DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos said, “Whether it’s hiking a mountain in the Adirondacks, fishing in the Catskills, or birding at a nearby forest or preserve, we’re looking forward to all contest submissions and picking a winner who will receive great prizes in addition to their adventure outdoors.”

Finger Lakes Partners (Billboard)

The online contest is being held through Oct 15 in partnership with powered by Aspira, the state’s camping reservation system.  A grand prize winner will be selected along with six individual category winners.

The six submission categories are:

  • Camping Life
  • Seasonal Spectacular
  • Action & Adventure
  • Hiking
  • Views & Vistas
  • Making Memories

Prize packages include a grand prize of a $1,000 REI gift card, one 4-person tent, a 2023 Empire Pass, and a $250 NY camping gift card; and six individual category winners will each receive $250 REI gift card, a 2023 Empire Pass, and a $100 NY camping gift card. The winning images will be featured in the 2023 New York State Camping Guide and together with other entries will be used in statewide promotions on social media, websites and in print publications, and highlighted through seasonal marketing campaigns.

All entries must be photographs taken at New York State-owned parklands in the two-year period between June 15, 2020 and October 15, 2022. Contest entries are accepted from June 15, 2022, 12 a.m. ET to October 15, 2022, 11:59 p.m. ET.

Winners will be announced by December 31, 2022. Photos will be judged on the following criteria: originality; artistic composition; technical quality; and whether the photograph showcases the best of New York State Parks camping and outdoor activities. The contest-winning photos will also be featured in an online gallery with information about each image and photographer. Submissions and all additional information regarding contest rules, eligibility and prizes is available at

“New York’s world-class State Parks and outdoor experiences are part of the quintessential I LOVE NY vacation, from the vast picturesque views along our trails and high peaks, to overnight stays under the stars,” Empire State Development Vice President and Executive Director of Tourism Ross D. Levi said. “The new contest from State Parks and DEC will encourage residents and visitors alike to share their favorite sites and scenes, and invite more people to come be a part of New York State’s great outdoors and make memories that will last lifetime.”

“We are pleased to partner with New York State Parks and DEC to host this popular contest, inviting campers and park visitors to share their outdoor photos,” said Graham Ballbach, President, Parks & Wildlife at Aspira. “Showcasing the top entries in upcoming travel publications and digital campaigns will inspire future visits to these remarkable public parklands.”

For the previous contest in 2018, more than 5,200 photos were submitted and nearly 18,000 votes cast in the competition that captured imagery of the state’s parks, forests, trails, campgrounds, nature centers, and other favorite destinations.

New York State Parks operates more than 250 state parks, historic sites, launches and nature centers including 68 campgrounds with 8,300 campsites and 900 cabins and cottages across 11 park regions. DEC operates 52 campgrounds and five day-use areas in the Adirondack and Catskill Forest Preserve that provide a wide variety of visitor experiences that can be found here., powered by Aspira, is a leading provider of campsite reservations and park management solutions in the Empire State and across North America, facilitating millions of transactions every year. Reservations are accepted for campsites and cabins, from one day to nine months in advance of the planned arrival date by calling toll-free 1-800-456-CAMP or online.

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