Interior Announces Share the Experience 2017 Photo Contest Winners


Citizen Photographers Compete for Photo Placement on National Public Lands and Waters Pass

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of the Interior today, along with the National Park Foundation and other participating federal recreation land agencies, announced the winners of the 2017 Share the Experience photography contest on Interior’s popular Instagram account and launched the 2018 contest. The grand prize winner of the annual contest is a captivating starry night at Acadia National Park by Manish Mamtani of Peabody, Massachusetts. The image will be featured on the annual America the Beautiful National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Pass.

Bright clusters of stars glow in the night sky above the ocean and a rugged coastline covered in rocks and trees.

This annual contest invites amateur photographers to submit their favorite views, moments, and adventures from America’s national parks and public lands. The 2018 Share the Experience photo contest is now accepting entries through December 31.

“Many times before you visit a national park, you first experience it through an iconic photograph,” said U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke. “While most think of historic images of Yosemite and Grand Teton captured by Ansel Adams, amateur photographers like the winners of the Share the Experience contest help tell the story of our public lands. As we continue to work at providing greater access and recreation opportunities, it’s important that a love of these places is shared through amazing photos. They showcase that these places are truly for ‘the benefit and enjoyment of the people.’ Hopefully they inspire some young people to get outside and enjoy it.”

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 and Osprey Packs, hotel packages courtesy of Historic Hotels of America®, and an annual National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Pass.

“I have always been a great fan of America’s national parks,” said Mamtani, who took the winning image while visiting Acadia National Park with his wife last summer. “I love the way beauty and wilderness is preserved in the parks. I always feel a close connection to nature in the national parks. My love for night sky is the reason I ventured into astrophotography. Hiking in the night sky not only fulfills my appetite for adventure, but also makes me appreciate my existence among billions of galaxies, where our planet itself is no more than a tiny dot. Some of the national parks like Death Valley, Big Bend, Natural Bridges, Acadia and Arches provide the darkest night skies.”

A photograph of the red walls of the Fort Union National Monument by Kristy Burns from Livingston, Texas, took second place.

Third place went to Dorrie Henderson of Lafayette, Indiana, for a photograph of Red Rock Crossing at Coconino National Forest.

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

  • Adventure and Outdoor Recreation
  • Historical and Cultural
  • Scenic, Seasons, and Landscapes
  • Family, Friends, and Fun
  • Wildlife
  • Night Skies

More than 16,000 photos were submitted to the contest, which ran from May 4, 2017, through December 31, 2017.

The 2018 Share the Experience photo contest is hosted by the National Park Foundation 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. For a full listing of prizing and rules, or to submit a photo, please visit All entries have the chance to be featured on the Interior Department’s popular TwitterInstagram and Facebook accounts.

Share the Experience is a great example of the countless ways there are to #FindYourPark/#EncuentraTuParque — a public awareness and education movement to inspire people from all backgrounds 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 our nation’s natural landscapes, vibrant culture, and rich history.


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