Nature Conservancy mag seeks your photos from national parks

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

The Nature Conservancy Magazine is searching for photos to feature in their quarterly magazine. Each publication will highlight a particular subject with the first one being National Parks.

The magazine's editors will pick their favorites each quarter and feature the photos in the magazine and in an online slideshow at

Your favorite nature photos could win and inspire others. Since the first contest held in 2006, the magazine has received 25,000 entries.

They are looking for beautiful nature pictures representing the diversity of life on Earth--including forests, grasslands, lakes, rivers, deserts, rainforests, oceans and coral reefs. So, pack your gear for an adventure and start shooting. The first deadline is Sept. 11. Any National Park picture is eligible.

The contest is open to all photographers age 18 or older regardless of residence or citizenship, so long as the laws of their jurisdiction allow participation. Photo submissions must be uploaded by 11:59 pm Pacific Standard Time on Wednesday, October 15, 2008.

National Parks were chosen as the first subjects. One of the first people credited with conceptualizing a "national park" was George Catlin (1796-1872), a self-taught artist who traveled among the native peoples of North America sketching and painting portraits, landscapes and scenes from the daily lives of Indians.

On a trip to the Dakotas in 1832 he began to worry about the impact of America's westward expansion. He wrote, "by some great protecting policy of government. . .in a magnificent park. . . A nation's park, containing man and beast, in all the wild and freshness of their nature's beauty."

The idea began to gain acceptance in 1864 when Congress donated the Yosemite Valley to California for preservation as a state park.

Congress established the Yellowstone National Park on March 1, 1872. This was the first time that public lands were set aside and administered by the federal government "for the benefit and enjoyment of the people."

In 1891, President Harrison established Yellowstone Timberland Reserve as the nation's first forest reserve, and in 1903 President Roosevelt created Pelican Island in Florida as the first national wildlife refuge.

There was still not real system of national parts in the U.S. until August 25, 1916 when President Woodrow Wilson signed the Organic Act creating the National Park Service (NPS). They became responsible for protecting the 40 national parks and monuments then in existence.

It wasn't until 1933 that an executive order transferred 63 national monuments and military sites from the Forest Service and War Department to the National Park Service. This was a huge step in the development toward today's national system of parks.

In 1970, Congress declared in the General Authorities Act that all units of the system have equal legal standing in a national system.

Today, additions to the National Park System are usually made through acts of Congress and national parks can only be created through such acts. The President does have authority, under the Antiquities Act of 1906, to proclaim national monuments on lands already under federal jurisdiction.

The National Park system today is made up of 376 areas covering more than 83 million acres in 49 states, the District of Columbia, American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico, Saipan and the Virgin Islands.

For more information about National Parks go to

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