Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation

Press Release

January 18, 2023

Dan Keefe (518) 486-1868 |

New York State Announces Outdoor Photo Contest Winners

New York State Parks and Department of Environmental Conservation Selected Winning Images of the Outdoors from 6,000 Entries; Bear Mountain Bridge Photo Takes Top Prize

The New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation (State Parks) and Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) today congratulate the winners of the 2022 Outdoor Photo Contest which captured the best of New York's natural beauty and special destinations among the state's campgrounds and parklands. The online contest ran through the summer and fall seasons and generated 6,032 submissions among six categories.

Click here to see the spectacular photos.

"With more than 6,000 stunning images entered into this contest, it's clear that visitors to our parks enjoy their time in the outdoors with family and friends, and are happy to share those special memories," said State Parks Commissioner Erik Kulleseid. "Congratulations to our winners and all participants who showcased their artistry, perspective and generosity documenting the very best of New York's natural settings and the fun adventures they discovered along the way."

Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Basil Seggos said, "A big congratulations to all the photo contest winners who captured truly breathtaking images of New York's unmatched natural resources. DEC and State Parks appreciate all the New Yorkers visiting our state's campgrounds, parks, and wilderness areas to take advantage of their beauty and recreational opportunities, and we encourage outdoor enthusiasts to keep snapping and sharing photos of their one-of-a-kind outdoor adventures."

The online contest ran in partnership with powered by Aspira, the state's camping reservation system. The grand prize winner and six individual category winners are:

  • Grand Prize: Wendy Blanchard of Schenectady, NY; "Bear Mountain Bridge Sunrise", Bear Mountain State Park. Bouchard was on site before sunrise for a photograph set amidst the colors of fall.
  • Camping Life: Alessandro Frati of New York City, NY; "There's Always a First Time" Mongaup Pond Campground. Frati is a first-time camper at Mongaup Pond and just started exploring the Catskills.
  • Seasonal Spectacular: Karen Millspaugh of Bergen, NY; "Fall Reflections", Taylor Pond Campground. She enjoyed quiet time among wildlife for this beautiful shot.
  • Action & Adventure: Kellie Olsen of Oneida, NY; "Feeling Free!" Wellesley Island State Park. Her husband Mike enjoyed the freedom the water brought.
  • Hiking: Diana Richards of Suffern, NY; "Roxy Watches the Sunrise", Storm King State Park. Roxy admires the view at Storm King.
  • Views & Vistas: Courtney Bradt of Amsterdam, NY; "Sunset at the Ruins", Crown Point Campground. The photo brings out the majesty of the site.
  • Making Memories: Chris Robey of Tonawanda, NY; "Evening Campfire", Stony Brook State Park. Robey grew up going to Stony Brook and handing down his love of camping, boating and fishing to his family.

The prize packages include a grand prize of a $1,000 REI gift card, one 4-person tent, a 2023 Empire Pass, and a $250 NY camping gift card; six individual category winners each receive $250 REI gift card, a 2023 Empire Pass, and a $100 NY camping gift card. The winning images will be featured in the 2023 New York State Camping Guide and, together with other entries, will be used in statewide promotions on social media, websites and in print publications, and highlighted through seasonal marketing campaigns. 

Photos were judged on the following criteria: originality; artistic composition; technical quality; and whether the photograph showcases the best of New York State Parks camping and outdoor activities. The contest-winning photos are featured with information about each image and photographer and there is a gallery of submission highlights. Entries and all additional information regarding contest rules, eligibility and prizes is available at

Empire State Development Vice President and Executive Director of Tourism Ross D. Levi said, "New York State is home to some of the most picturesque outdoor scenery, from the dynamic Niagara Falls to the majestic Adirondack Mountains and the quiet serenity of Montauk Point. I LOVE NY recommends countless campgrounds and our network of incredible State Parks as great opportunities to reconnect with nature as part of any outdoor getaway and congratulates the winners of the 2022 Outdoor Photo Contest."

Graham Ballbach, President, Parks & Wildlife at Aspira, said, "Congratulations to all the winners! Aspira is proud to have managed over 6,000 photo entries and stories from individuals and their families who seek connection to New York state lands. These winning photos will inspire people to explore and preserve the unique outdoor recreational opportunities throughout the state."

New York State Parks operates more than 250 state parks, historic sites, launches and nature centers including 68 campgrounds with 8,300 campsites and 900 cabins and cottages across 11 park regions. DEC operates 52 campgrounds and four day-use areas in the Adirondack and Catskill Parks of the state with 6,200 campsites., powered by Aspira, is a leading provider of campsite reservations and park management solutions in the Empire State and across North America, facilitating millions of transactions every year. Reservations are accepted for campsites and cabins, from one day to nine months in advance of the planned arrival date by calling toll-free 1-800-456-CAMP or online,