Enjoy the winning essays from our fall writing contest.
We’re thrilled to share a feature we wrote (as Amy Beth and Derek) for Southwest: The Magazine, celebrating the 50th anniversary of the U.S. National Trails System for the October issue.
Travel with Lauren Smith as she finds a sense of home on the road, much like the migrating birds she studies. "The month after I moved to Montana I went to an environmental conference in Waterton Lakes National Park, Alberta. There, I heard a Blackfeet elder say this: “We are bound by breath to honor and take care of this place.” The elder was speaking about conservation, and how it is important to care for all parts of an ecosystem—the watershed, the soil, the plants, the animals. To care, the elder said, you need to settle in a place and let it settle in you. Once this happens, you are bound by breath to honor and care for that place." Click here to continue.
We are delighted to host our second annual poetry series, in honor of National Poetry Month. Poetry presents an extraordinary lens through which to explore public lands, the outdoors, and our instincts for adventure and self-reflection.
An hour later and I'm clinging to a cable on the side of the mountain, treading a path so narrow my feet no longer fit side by side safely, but only one in front of the other. There is a steep, almost vertical drop to my right hand side. Indeed, at one point there is only a metal bar sticking out from the sheer rock, bridging the next bit of narrow path. Don't look down, I think. Hang on to the cable with both hands. Phew. Done.
"When I typed in "West Coast Writers' Retreats," Taos appeared, a well as Santa Fe and Seattle. Then the search took a leap to Ireland...and a writers' workshop on the southwest coast of the Beara Peninsula and a place named Anam Cara."
"Driving from Denver to Los Angeles with my first husband and baby son in 1973, I wanted to enjoy parts of the country I'd never experienced. Tiredness interfered with that often, sending me into uneasy dozes as Richard drove and Lyle sang with the radio, banging out time on his carseat. And so, only one sight has really stayed with me for all these years: Zion National Park in Utah."
You can read the winners of our Fall 2017 Essay contest here! Thanks to all who submitted writing to the contest, we received so many powerful and beautifully written entries. We are grateful for the wisdom and insight of our contest judge, Melissa Faliveno, and hope you will enjoy reading her selections.
Suzanne Cottrell writes about a chance stop at Craters of the Moon National Monument and Preserve in Idaho, "We’d never heard of it. Well, it was on our way, we had time, and we enjoyed family adventures—so why not stop?" The impulse adventure led to wonder, adventure, and discovery. Click here to read more!
Read Rachel Attias' ruminative essay on how a four month long cross country road trip and a journey to the Sperry Chalet in Glacier National Park changed her life. "You need to stop thinking so hard and either enjoy the drive or jump out of the car immediately."
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.