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Celebrating Our Public Lands and Waters Through Photography: Contest Winners Announced

posted Jan 19, 2017, 7:00 AM by Kathleen Tyner   [ updated Jan 19, 2017, 7:02 AM ]
You Can Visit the Locations of the Winning Photos!

Our photo contest celebrating West Virginia's federal public lands and waters received over 150 submissions from photographers across the state. The winning photos capture what makes our public lands and waters so precious. The best part? You can visit the locations of all the winning photos! Public lands belong to all of us and we've included some tips to inspire you to get out and explore these incredible destinations.

Water and Landscape: Kate's Branch by Randall Sanger

You can find this picturesque waterfall and many others along the Glade Creek trail system located within the New River Gorge National River. During the spring, Glade Creek is a favorite destination for native wildflowers.

Outdoor Recreation: Hiker Admiring a Developing Rainbow by Melvin Hartley

You'll find incredible views of the New River and the New River Gorge Bridge from the Long Point Trail, part of the Fayetteville area trail system of the New River Gorge National River. Adventurous hikers can head out to the Long Point overlook during Bridge Day for a spectacular view of the festival and BASE jumpers.

WV Rivers Staff's Choice Award: Route 39 Spring by Allen Johnson

Be sure to visit this mountain spring next time you're in Pocahontas County. Located in the Monongahela National Forest and part of the Birthplace of Rivers, this public spring is a favorite spot for both locals and tourists. You can find the spring just 200 yards west of the Cranberry Nature Center, on the Route 39 switchback.

Blue Ridge Outdoors Editor's Choice Award: Blue Heron on the New River 
by William Groah

The New River is home to an abundant variety of wildlife, like the blue heron pictured above. If you're interested in bird watching, we'd recommend visiting the Sandstone-Brooks area trails of the New River Gorge National River. Make sure you bring your binoculars, this area is home to nesting bald eagles.

KEEN "Live Monumental" People's Choice Award: Cranberry Wilderness 
by Sam Taylor

Explore high elevation red spruce forests on the North/South Trail in the Monongahela National Forest's Cranberry Wilderness. Red spruce are the only spruce species native to West Virginia and serve as critical habitat for both the endangered West Virginia northern flying squirrel and the threatened Cheat Mountain salamander.