New Instagram Contest Invites YOU to #PicYourPark

In an earlier article I discussed the friendly “Sunset War” between Saguaro and Joshua Tree national parks to show off the beauty of these parks.

Now, the National Park Foundation has announced a new Instagram contest aimed at all selfie and photo experts everywhere.

For double points in August, explore Cumberland Island National Seashore, Georgia. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserve

For double points in August, explore Cumberland Island National Seashore, Georgia. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserve

The official nonprofit partner of the National Park Service is inviting park goers to submit pictures of themselves in national parks for an opportunity to earn points and win a variety of prizes.

The Pic Your Park contest (or for the hash taggers of the world #PicYourParkContest) runs through September 28.

The more parks participants visit the more points they earn in the contest. Extra points can also be gathered for posting photos in some of the nation’s least visited parks.

For double points in July, explore Cowpens National Battlefield, South Carolina. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

For double points in July, explore Cowpens National Battlefield, South Carolina. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

For instance, hordes of travelers go to Yellowstone National Park each year or Grand Canyon National Park, but far fewer visit Gates of the Arctic National Park and Preserve, in Alaska (it only receives about 11,000 visitors annually).

Yet another example of a lesser visited park is North Cascades National Park in Washington, about three hours east of Seattle. Known for its quiet wilderness and boating and camping opportunities, only about 21,623 people visit annually.

All 417 parks in the National Park System are included in the contest, as are national trails, national recreation areas, national heritage areas, national historic parks, and more.

For double points in July, explore Gettysburg National Military Park, Pennsylvania. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

For double points in July, explore Gettysburg National Military Park, Pennsylvania. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Double points can be earned for visiting certain parks during special “boost periods.” To find out when those periods are for each park, visit this link: https://findyourpark.com/pic-your-park/list.

For double points in August, explore Cumberland Island National Seashore, Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, Lake Mead National Recreation Area, or Padre Island National Seashore.

To collect points, and in order to be selected and contacted for prize redemption, all participants must have a public profile on Instagram.

For double points in August, explore Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, Arizona/Utah © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

For double points in August, explore Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, Arizona/Utah © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

“Up your Instagram game by experiencing your national parks near and far this summer, especially the lesser-known gems,” Will Shafroth, president of the National Park Foundation, said in a statement.

“You’ll not only have the chance to win great prizes, you’ll also inspire your community to get out there and explore for themselves!”

To view some of the pictures already taken by contestants (in other words, to check out the competition), visit the contest webpage (https://findyourpark.com/pic-your-park).

The site also includes a leaderboard to show who is scoring the most points.

For double points in August, explore Lake Mead National Recreation Area, Arizona/Nevada © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

For double points in August, explore Lake Mead National Recreation Area, Arizona/Nevada © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

The grand prize winner, who will receive a trip for two to any national park site in the contiguous 48 states, will be selected based on the highest number of points at the conclusion of the contest and notified in mid-October via direct message on Instagram.

Originally launched in, Find Your Park promotion is designed 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 the country’s natural landscapes, vibrant culture, and rich history.

For double points in June, explore New River Gorge National River, West Virginia © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

For double points in June, explore New River Gorge National River, West Virginia © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

The first step is to get up, get out there, and find a National Park Service site near you. Or pack up the RV for a cross-country road trip and discover a variety of parks. Oh, and bring your phone and camera. You’ll need that, too.

To enter the contest, take a selfie at each National Park Service site you visit, post it to Instagram using the hashtag #picyourparkcontest, and geotag your location within the park. Pictures without a visible face will not be accepted.

The more parks you visit, the more points you earn. Unlock badges and earn double points for visiting certain parks during boost periods. Maximize your points by visiting parks during these boost periods.

For double points in August, explore Yorktown Battlefield Part of Colonial National Historical Park, Virginia © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

For double points in August, explore Yorktown Battlefield Part of Colonial National Historical Park, Virginia © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Worth Pondering…

Sometimes I do get to places just when God’s ready to have somebody click the shutter.

—Ansel Adams

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