Arizona State Parks offering free annual pass, other prizes in photo contest

Dec 27, 2023, 1:00 PM

PHOENIX — Arizona State Parks and Trails is trying to get residents outdoors this holiday season and is offering a host of prizes as part of its photo contest.

The Opt Outside photo contest runs through Jan. 15 and asks for people to take nature photos in Arizona’s state parks that fall into one of five categories.

The grand prize winner will receive a package that includes a two-night stay in a Pin Drop micro-camper at Dead Horse Ranch State Park, an Arizona State Parks annual pass and a cave tour at Kartchner Caverns State Park.

“This is all just part of our way of asking people to opt outside instead of spending all of their time shopping or indoors,” Michelle Thompson, Arizona State Parks spokesperson, told KTAR News 92.3 FM.

“[We want them to] get out with their families and make some really great memories in the beautiful places we have here in Arizona.”

What are the details of Arizona State Parks’ photo contest?

Contestants can submit five entries that can be spread across the five categories.

The five categories are:

  • Living creatures, including plants, animals and insects.
  • Smiling visitors at state parks.
  • Outdoor activities, such as kayaking, fishing or camping.
  • Landscapes that detail natural state parks views.
  • Arizona history.

Entries will be judged on creativity, uniqueness, quality and effectiveness in telling a story. The judging panel consists of Arizona State Parks and Trails staff, Cottonwood Mayor Tim Elinski, and Lauren and Owen Steinwall, who run Arizona adventures social media account The AZ Hikeaholics.

There will be first-place, second-place and third-place winners for each category in addition to the grand prize winner.

First-place winners will get an Arizona State Parks annual pass. Second-place finishers will receive two day-use passes. Those who finish in third place will get two day-use passes.

All contestants must be at least 18 years old.

“We just want to encourage people to get out to the state parks, explore, spend some time outdoors over the busy holiday season and then take some great pictures and submit them to this contest,” Thompson said.

KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Kate Ourada contributed to this report.

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Arizona State Parks offering free annual pass, other prizes in photo contest