Fall 2017 Essay Contest    

The deadline has passed and this year's contest is now closed to entries. Thanks to all who submitted, and to our talented and insightful contest judge, M Lou Faliveno. You can view the winners, honorable mentions and finalists here.

Our annual fall essay contest invites nonfiction submissions of up to 1,500 words in the form of autobiographical essay, reportage, profile, memoir, or narrative nonfiction. We seek essays that express a moment of significance — personal transformation, awakening, adventure, exploration, reward, accomplishment, revelation — that is inspired by or set within a park space or public land. Essays need not be about a U.S. national park—national forests, municipal and state parks, BLM lands, beaches, lakeshores, campgrounds, designated woodlands—and more—are great subjects. Also note that the writer does not need to be the subject of the essay. First, second and third place entries will be published on Parks and Points, as will the names of finalists. All entries are considered for publication. 

Winners will be selected by contest judge Melissa Faliveno, Senior Editor of Poets & Writers magazine.

The submission deadline was November 1, 2017, 11:59 p.m. E.D.T. 


We have chosen prizes that we hope will support your impulse to travel:

  • 1st Place  $250 Southwest Airlines gift card
  • 2nd Place $150 Marriott gift card
  • 3rd Place  $50 AirBnB gift card
  • Honorable Mention awardees will receive a copy of the book Crown Jewel Wilderness, The Making of North Cascades National Park, by Lauren Danner 

Please note that prizes are sourced from the entry fees and inclusion of the travel company does not imply their endorsement.


  • Winners will be announced by November 30, 2017 and published on Parks and Points shortly thereafter.
  • Submissions of original and previously unpublished work should be no more than 1,500 words. Facebook and blog posts are considered “published” writing.
  • Upon publication all rights to written work will revert to the author.  
  • A $3 submission fee is required to enter. Multiple entries are permitted, but each requires a separate entry.

Melissa Faliveno is the senior editor of Poets & Writers Magazine, and producer/cohost of Ampersand: The Poets & Writers Podcast. She holds an MFA in nonfiction writing from Sarah Lawrence College, where she also teaches workshops in magazine writing. Her essays have appeared in DIAGRAMGreen Mountains ReviewLumina, and Midwestern Gothic (including a "notable essay" selection in Best American Essays 2016) and in the book Derby Life (Gutpunch Press, 2015) an anthology about women's roller derby. Originally from Wisconsin, she lives in Brooklyn, New York, where she also plays in the band Self Help. Follow her on Twitter @melissafaliveno.