Please see the Official Contest Rules, Guidelines and Prizes for more information.

How do I submit a photo?

Simply create an account or login and select “Enter” along the top navigation bar to follow the easy submission process (you must have an account to submit a photo). This includes providing the photo information, agency, photographer information and, of course, uploading the photo to our database. As soon as the photo is received it will be reviewed to ensure it has met all the qualifications before being loaded on the website. Photos may take up to 72 hours to be moderated.

I’m trying to submit my photo, but the I can’t find the “Enter” tab?

Employees of participating agencies are ineligible to enter the contest, if you selected that you were an employee when you created your account the function to enter will be disabled. If you are not an employee of one of the participating agencies, and checked this box in error, please contact to remove this restriction.

Why doesn’t my photo or comment appear on the website immediately after submission?

All photos and comments enter a moderation queue once received to ensure they meet various qualifications before being loaded on the website. Photos and comments may take up to 72 hours to be moderated. If your photo or comment still does not appear after 72 hours, you can contact for more details. Due to the large volume of submissions we do not contact participants individually when a photo is rejected.

Are photos taken on city and state lands eligible?

The photo must be taken on federal public lands or waters managed by one of the following participating agencies:

  • National Park Service
  • Bureau of Land Management
  • Bureau of Reclamation
  • U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
  • U.S. Forest Service
  • U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

When can photos be submitted?

The contest will be open for entries from June 13, 2024 to December 31, 2024, and the winners will be announced Spring/Summer 2025.

Does my photo need to be taken this year?

For the 2024 photo contest, photographs taken between January 1, 2022 and December 31, 2024 will be accepted during the contest Promotion Period from June 13, 2024 to December 31, 2024.

What size does the photo need to be?

The winning photos must be of sufficient quality to use in print publications. Photos less than 2560 x 1950 resolution will not be eligible to enter the contest.

Can I submit my photo in a format other than JPEG?

As per the contest rules photos are required to be in JPEG format. We are not able to accept photos in any other format at this time.

How many photos can I enter?

Entries are limited to ten (10) per month (First day of each month 12:00am ET- last day of each month 11:59pm ET) during the duration of the contest. Be sure to act as your own photo editor and send us the best of the best!

Can the photo contain a watermark?

The photo must not contain watermarks, writing or symbols of any kind.

Can I enter the same photograph into multiple categories?

It is not uncommon for photos to fall into multiple categories. Each photo can only be entered in up to 2 categories – so choose your categories wisely! An overwhelming amount of entries are submitted to Scenic, Seasons & Landscapes, while great categories like Outdoors for All and History & Heritage receive fewer entries overall. Each category has such potential, so be intentional and creative when choosing your photo category!

Do I still retain the rights to my submitted photos?

Participants retain ownership of all photos submitted. For more information on how your photos can be used please refer to the official contest rules.

Some photos on the website appear to have excessive manipulations; how do you monitor this?

Due to the volume of submissions, it is difficult to closely screen for manipulations when accepting photos. Acceptance of a photo submission is not a certification the photo has met the requirements of the official contest rules. All finalist photos are closely vetted. To ensure compliance with the rules, for those photos that are finalists the Contest Sponsors have the right to request the photographer provide the file that was recorded by the camera, such as RAW files. All annual winners are also required to sign an affidavit certifying their photo adheres to the official contest rules.

What is the Federal Recreational Lands Pass?

The Federal Recreational Lands Pass - an annual pass is your ticket to more than 2,000 federal recreation sites. Each pass covers entrance fees at participating national parks and national wildlife refuges, as well as standard amenity fees at national forests and grasslands, and at lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management and Bureau of Reclamation. A pass covers entrance and standard amenity fees for a driver and all passengers in a personal vehicle at per vehicle fee areas (or up to 4 adults at sites that charge per person). Children age 15 and under are admitted free. More than 800,000 Interagency Annual Passes are sold each year.

Get your pass now at the USGS store!

What's a Monthly Winner?

Three monthly winners will be picked each month of the contest. The photo will be picked by a judging panel and will be selected based on the same judging criteria as the overall winner: originality, artistic composition, technical quality, photographic technique and showcasing the best of America's recreational opportunities. The monthly winners will not only receive an automatic entry into the judging phase but will also receive a Federal Recreational Lands Annual Pass.

Where will the images be displayed?

The images will be displayed on From there depending on how your photo does in the contest, you could find your photo displayed on the front of the Federal Recreation Lands Annual Pass!

What do you do with the information you collect?

We value your personal information as well as your privacy and adhere to strict laws and practices when it comes to that information. Please see our Privacy Policy for more specific info.

Who can I contact for more information?

Please email: