A Picture can Save 21,000 Acres

The 12th annual Outdoor Photo Contest is underway! No doubt you've heard the phrase "a picture says a thousand words," but a photo can do even more than that. Images can be powerful tools to encapsulate a place, person, or time in history. For our public lands, a photograph can even be a catalyst for permanent protection.

Take Opal Creek Wilderness, for example. Today, thousands of people flock to its old-growth trees and its emerald waters; locals and visitors alike go to soak in the beauty and savor the experience of walking through an ancient forest. Today, no one questions why such a place has value; no one laments that this wild place was saved from clearcutting and development.

But back in the 1980s, Opal Creek was on the chopping block. Oregon Wild (then Oregon Natural Resources Council) had been working tirelessly with local advocates to keep this gem pristine, but help was needed to ensure it would remain uncut.

Enter Larry Olson, landscape photographer. After hearing about the threats to this incredible forest watershed, he ventured into the wildlands and captured a photo that became the poster image for the conservation effort. His photo brought Opal Creek to the eyes of people across the nation. In 1996, Opal Creek Wilderness was designated.

As a photographer, you too can be a part of the conservation efforts still at hand. Help us showcase Oregon's incredible public lands and enter the 12th annual Oregon Wild Outdoor Photo Contest

Photographers of all ages and abilities who've entered the Outdoor Photo Contest over the last eleven years have all had one thing in common: a love for Oregon and what makes it special. Your photos tell a powerful story of our diverse landscape, its unique ecology, and the conservation history that has protected special places for us to experience today. Help us continue that story and conservation success.

Each year, our Endangered Places category features public land at risk, just as Opal Creek and other adored wildlands once were. This year we focus on the Malheur Wildlife Refuge and the recent occupation that brought the attacks on our public lands front and center. By capturing and sharing what you love about Malheur through the Outdoor Photo Contest, you can help us increase the exposure on a continuing problem and keep our public lands in the public eye.

The deadline for submissions is Friday, September 16th at midnight, so get outside, explore the wild, and capture that winning shot. If you need some guidance for your summer photographic adventures, consider joining a free, guided Oregon Wild Summer hike.

The $5 contest entry fee is small but the rewards are great. You could win a $250 gift certificate from sponsor Pro Photo Supply and more by submitting up to five photos in the contest's four main categories.

Whether your photos win or not, one thing is certain – your images will continue to be a voice for Oregon's wild places beyond this year's contest. Your photos have the power to inspire others to protect our beautiful state.

So get going – join us on an Oregon Wild Hike and submit your photos to the Outdoor Photo Contest.

Best of luck and thank you for sharing your images of our amazing public lands!

Read the full article about Larry Olson's photograph by Zach Urness in the Statesman Journal


Photo Credits: 
Photos top to bottom: Blue Mountains owl by Scott Carpenter, Opal Creek by Stan Newman, Flag Point by Kat Dierickx.