Parks and Points Fall 2017 Essay Contest is Open

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.

One Step at a Time: Moving On at Joshua Tree National Park

Click here to read Melissa Grego's essay about rock-climbing at Joshua Tree National Park—she gains new perspective during a time of personal and professional turmoil. Melissa writes, "At Joshua Tree, I experienced pain and fear and still reached places I didn’t know existed. I just needed to keep looking at things from different angles and recognize that I was not alone."

Parks & Points & Poetry

In April, we are celebrating the awe we so often feel in nature, on public lands, through a month-long poetry series to coincide with National Poetry Month. Click here to read along throughout the month; we will share the poems, featuring work by twenty-four poets whose work celebrates parks and other public lands.

Our series is edited by Celeste Hackenberg, and features poems by:

  • Phillip Bannowsky
  • Karen Berry
  • Joe Betz
  • Gary Bloom
  • Jeff Burt
  • Gabriella Brand
  • Ann DeVilbiss
  • Iris Jamahl Dunkle
  • Andy Fogle
  • J.M. Green
  • Mary Christine Kane
  • Richard Kempa
  • Joshua Lefkowitz
  • Jennifer Moore
  • Julie Moore
  • Kevin Oberlin
  • Kristin Rajan
  • Thom Schramm
  • Marjorie Thomsen
  • Kerry Trautman
  • Brendan Walsh
  • BJ Ward
  • Kory Wells
  • Tom Zimmerman

We wish to acknowledge our finalists:

  • KB Ballentine “Comfort of Solitude”
  • George Campbell, “I Walked All Day Upstream”
  • Jan Chronister, “Door County”
  • Anne E. Johnson “Dead and Alive in Turkey Run”
  • Jennifer Lagier “Moonstone Morning”
  • Leah Mueller “Glacier”
  • Ken Pobo “Climbing a Tithonia”
  • Lara Poulton, “Going to the Sun”
  • Alexandra Renwick “particles of your mud still flush my veins”
  • Elizabeth Spragins “Eventide”
  • Mary Ellen Talley “Whistler Campground at Jasper National Park” and “Lake Melakwa, 1973”
  • Paul Thiel, “Split Rock”
  • Tyson West, “Solstice Skateboarders Around the Salmon Fountain” 

Spotlight on Yosemite Writing Retreat

We were excited to learn of a unique writing retreat that dovetails our two passions — parks and writing. We invited Jennifer Moss, founder of the Yosemite Writers Retreat, to write a guest post telling our readers more about how her retreat series originated, and what attendees can expect to focus upon as writers. Click here to read.

On Yellowstone National Park's 145th Birthday

We're pleased to celebrate the 145th birthday of Yellowstone National Park, America's first national park. 

Chris Umpierre spots an injured bison staying strong for its calf, and a host of wildlife that fills him with wonder. Peter W. Fong recalls a summer as a curator at the Madison Museum and a host of fascinating visitors. Read both, and revisit Wendy Johnson's "Two Days in Yellowstone." While on a cross country, she pauses for a quick tour. To read each piece, click on the author's name above.

Banner image: The Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone, Thomas Moran, Smithsonian American Art Museum.