Congratulations to the 2023 Share Your Story Contest Winners!

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This past summer, hosted its third annual “Share Your Story” adventure writing contest, designed to encourage visitors of our federal public lands to share details of their meaningful outdoor adventures and experiences. The contest resulted in nearly 400 submissions with stories that touched our hearts. Visitors who choose to participate in the contest offer their unique voice as they capture heart-felt, humorous, inspirational, and sometimes outrageous stories of their experiences.

Below are the three grand prize-winning stories from the 2023 contest. To view more stories, visit the Share Your Story Gallery.

Annual adventure writing contest generates stories of adventure, connection, and inspiration

"My Brilliant Whitewater Grand Canyon Adventure"

Grand Canyon National Park

A large group of adults crowded into two large river rafts

Grand Canyon National Park (Tracy Long, Share Your Story)

Tracy Long’s story, "My Brilliant Whitewater Grand Canyon Adventure," details her unforgettable experience whitewater rafting with friends on the Colorado River through Grand Canyon National Park. Pushing Tracy beyond her comfort zone to reach new travel accomplishments, Tracy reminisces on being filled with laughter and joy the entirety of her adventure and is looking forward to returning to the Colorado River in the future.

“The accomplishment I felt scaling a particularly challenging waterfall, jumping off another one or looking down at the canyon walls and drop off that I had just climbed was exhilarating. I did not want to leave the river or the Grand Canyon... I wanted to stay on the river and experience more of its magic. I see why people get hooked, come back every year, decide to become river guides, and never want to leave.”

"Third time's a charm"

Tongass National Forest & Wrangell-St. Elias National Park & Preserve

Tall green mountains carved by glaciers surround a lake on a cloudy day

Wrangell-St. Elias National Park & Preserve (Stephen Bromberg, Share Your Story)

In "Third time’s a charm," Stephen Bromberg describes experiencing a real-life glacier. Stephen and his partner, after many unsuccessful attempts, were finally able to make their dreams a reality by visiting the LeConte and Dawes Glaciers in Alaska to witness their beauty with their own eyes.

“Over the course of 10 days, as we meandered from Vancouver to Sitka, we saw bears catching and feasting on salmon in Kasnyuku Bay. We saw whales breaching and fluking in the straits. We saw bald eagles. We saw Dall’s porpoises surfing off the bow of our ship and seals resting on floating ice. We saw totem poles and fisheries and heard stories from Alaskan Natives in Ketchikan, Wrangell and Sitka.

But if I’d seen none of those, that would have been fine. Because I saw the glaciers. And they took my breath away.”

"Over 300 Continuous Trail Miles"

Meadowood Special Recreation Management Area

Three men run on a path through a grassy field

Meadowood Special Recreation Management Area (Scott Snell, Share Your Story)

Scott Snell, as told in his story "Over 300 Continuous Trail Miles," competed in Meadowood Special Recreation Management Area’s annual Capital Backyard Ultra, a long-distance running race. Scott details the beautiful scenery of the race location and his experience running three days and three nights to take home the winning title, building meaningful relationships with his competitors along the way.

“During the course of the race, we were treated to beautiful weather and smooth trails that meandered through the woods. One other runner and I ran through 3 entire days and nights; we saw the sun set and rise 3 times during our run. We both covered over 300 miles by foot on the trails and were in the same place as where we started when we finished.”

Get Ready to Tell Your Story!

A young girl rests on a rock and writes in her notebook

Big Bend National Park (Amy Ramos, Share the Experience)

Did these stories inspire you? Keep an eye on for details on the 2024 Share Your Story Adventure Writing Contest and get ready to share your story with us! We love reading about the adventures you have with your friends, family, pets, and even solo trips on your public lands and waters. Wherever the wind takes you, remember to Recreate Responsibly and bring home a story!

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