If you like looking at photos of some of the nation’s most scenic spots, check out the winners of the 2013 National Natural Landmarks Program photo contest. While none of the winning images is from a Washington photographer or location, it’s worth a moment to look at the images.
The winning image is a photograph of American lotus flowers at dawn in the Great Plains, taken by Kenneth M. Highfill of Lawrence, Kan., at the Baker University Wetlands.
The area was designated a National Natural Landmark in 1969 as an example of undisturbed wetland prairie. More than 260 species of birds and more than 430 species of plants have been recorded at the site, including the American lotus flowers captured in the winning photograph.
“These stunning photographs highlight the beauty and variety of our nation’s natural landscape,” National Park Service director Jonathan B. Jarvis said in a news release. “They celebrate the great diversity, significance and beauty of our nation’s natural history, and underscore the importance of resource preservation by our partners across the country.”
The 10th annual contest drew 88 images representing 71 different National Natural Landmark sites across 31 states and Puerto Rico. The three winning photos and 10 honorable mentions will be featured in the 2014 National Natural Landmarks calendar.
Second place went to Eric Grimm of San Diego, for his photo of a reflected sunrise at Emerald Bay at Lake Tahoe, Calif., and third place went to Joseph Henry of Davis, W.Va., for his image of the Canaan Valley in northeastern West Virginia.
There are 596 designated National Natural Landmarks across the United States, American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. Among the landmarks in Washington are the Nisqually River Delta, Mima Mounds, Gingko Petrified Forest, Steptoe Butte and Grand Coulee.
The state also has had its moments of fame in the photo contest. John Clement of Kennewick was a double winner in 2008. His image of Wallula Gap took first place and his photo of Grande Ronde Goosenecks took second.
The National Natural Landmarks Program was established in 1962 to encourage the preservation of the best remaining examples of the major biotic communities and geologic features composing the nation’s natural landscape. The program is managed by the National Park Service.
See the winners: To view the winning photographs, visit nature.nps.gov/nnl/ photocontest.cfm.
Program info: A complete list of national natural landmarks and additional information about the program can be found at nature.nps.gov/nnl/index.cfm.