The platform is inviting nature lovers, thrill-seekers, and outdoor enthusiasts alike to recount their experiences of exploring the sublime beauty of America’s great outdoors.
The contest, which began in 2021, has become a cherished tradition among the outdoor community.
According to Rick DeLappe, Recreation.gov Program Manager, the contest has already received thousands of stories from across the nation over the past two years.
These narratives reveal the incredible value of our outdoor spaces in sparking joy, fostering a sense of belonging, and creating enduring memories. By sharing these tales, Recreation.gov aims to underscore the profound emotional connection individuals forge with nature, simultaneously promoting the diverse recreational opportunities available on public lands and waters.
Recreation.gov, serving as the federal government’s comprehensive hub for outdoor recreation for 25 years, provides essential information, reservations, and experiences related to America’s federal recreation destinations. This annual contest allows adventurers to spotlight their memorable outdoor experiences, thereby encouraging more people to embrace these awe-inspiring opportunities.
Participants have the liberty to submit their narratives in two out of five vibrant categories: Activities and Adventures, Reaching for the Stars, Traditions (Old and New), Family or Group Travel, and Reflection Journeys. Contestants can also contribute up to two unique stories during the contest window, adding diversity and depth to their entries.
This contest yields tangible benefits for both the participants and the outdoor recreation industry. For the former, there’s the lure of substantial prizes, with a total of 21 victors set to receive gifts ranging from REI Gift Cards to America the Beautiful – The National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands (ATB) Passes. The top three winners will be rewarded with REI Gift Cards ranging from $500 to $1,500, in addition to the ATB pass. Additional winners across various categories and phases will also receive exciting rewards.
For the outdoor recreation industry, this contest serves as a dynamic promotional tool. The shared stories can inspire more people to venture into the wilderness, consequently driving growth in sectors such as outdoor gear, tourism, and conservation efforts. Moreover, increased visitation to these sites can generate additional funds for the maintenance, conservation, and enhancement of public lands and waters.
Submissions for the contest are open until September 30, 2023, for experiences taking place within the purview of eight participating agencies, encompassing domains like the National Park Service, U.S. Bureau of Land Management, and U.S. Forest Service, among others.
A panel of judges, chosen by the contest will assess the stories on various factors. These include originality, creativity, clarity, organization, relevance to the selected category, and the story’s ability to showcase the unique charm of America’s federal lands and waters.
With the announcement of winners set for mid-October, outdoor enthusiasts have a wonderful opportunity to relive their experiences, compete for remarkable prizes, and potentially inspire others to embark on their own adventures.
For more information, visit https://www.recreation.gov/shareyourstory.