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Recreation.gov announces 2022 “Share Your Story” writing contest for outdoor adventurists

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The second annual contest seeks stories that touched hearts, inspired laughter, and created memorable experiences in the great outdoors for the chance to win high-valued prizes.

DENVER, CO - Recreation.gov launched its second annual “Share Your Story” adventure writing contest, inviting visitors of America’s federal public lands to submit stories detailing their experiences exploring and spending time in the great outdoors. Experiences must have taken place between January 1, 2020 and April 30, 2022. Visitors can submit stories from now until April 30, 2022 for a chance to win great prizes and have their story featured on Recreation.gov. The 2021 inaugural contest generated nearly 1,200 entries.

“When Recreation.gov first launched the ‘Share Your Story’ contest in 2021, we set out to discover stories from people across the nation who got outside to experience nature in a new way, and particularly how those experiences helped them find peace, tranquility, or adventure during the first year of the pandemic,” said Rick DeLappe, Program Manager at Recreation.gov. “We were blown away by the entries, many of which covered memorable moments with loved ones and a newfound sense of gratitude and appreciation for public lands and waters.  We look forward to receiving more stories in 2022 of how the great outdoors has brought people peace, enjoyment, and a sense of togetherness, with nature, family, or new friends you meet along the trail.” 

Participants can submit stories that fall within up to two of four categories, including Traditions (Old and New), RV/Campervans, Family Trips, and Activities and Adventure.

"As we enter the third year of this global pandemic, the outdoors continues to provide comfort and solace," said Eugenie Bostrom, Recreate Responsibly Coalition Manager. "Brought together by a love of the places that sustain us, our outdoor community continues to expand as more see the benefits of nature. The Recreate Responsibly Coalition, in collaboration with Recreation.gov, invites you to share your perspective and experiences of responsible and holistic outdoor recreation."

"As we reflect on the benefits that nature provides during challenging times, we can rely on storytelling to keep us connected and to provide comfort. In celebrating stories of outdoor adventures or peace-seeking in nature, we can see ourselves in each other and in the places that tie us together. The genesis of #RecreateResponsibly is to care for one another and for the places that we play or find solace, and we can share that through insightful and uplifting recollections of our experiences."

Participants can enter up to two stories during the contest period for a chance to be one of the total 29 winners of various prizes, including:

  • Three Grand Prize Winners: The first Grand Prize Winner will receive $1,500 from an outdoor retailer, the Second Grand Prize - Winner will receive a $1,000 from an outdoor retailer, and the third Grand Prize Winner will receive $500 from an outdoor retailer. Additionally, each winner will receive an America the Beautiful – The National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands (ATB) Pass, providing access to more than 2,000 federal recreation sites across the country.
  • Four Overall Category First Place Winners: Each winner will receive $300 from an outdoor retailer and an ATB pass.
  • Four Overall Category Runner Up Winners: Each winner will receive $150 from an outdoor retailer and an ATB pass.
  • Four Monthly First Place Winners: Each winner will receive $150 from an outdoor retailer and an ATB pass.
  • Four Monthly Runner Up Winners: Each winner will receive $100 from an outdoor retailer and an ATB pass.
  • Ten Honorable Mention Winners: Each winner will receive branded gear from Recreation.gov.

Stories and any accompanying photos must have taken place between January 1, 2020 and April 30, 2022 and must be within the facilities of participating agencies: National Park Service; U.S. Bureau of Land Management; U.S. Bureau of Reclamation; U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; U.S. Forest Service; U.S. Army Corps of Engineers; National Archives; and NOAA Marine Sanctuaries.

The contest promotion period to submit stories will conclude on April 30, 2022. Those interested in participating can enter their story, between 900 and 3,500 characters, and accompanying photos at recreation.gov/shareyourstory. Winners will be announced on or around May 15, 2022.

Contest entries will be reviewed by a panel of judges selected by the Administrator and will be rated on the stories submitted only; photographs will not be included in the judging process. For each Contest phase, stories will be judged based on the following criteria: 1) the originality and creativity of the story; 2) the clarity and organization of the story composition; 3) the content of the story and its appropriateness for the designated category; and 4) whether the story showcases the best of America’s federal lands and waters recreational opportunities. Each of the criteria will be given equal consideration.

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