Preserve the Wonder 2017 Photo Contest

Thanks to all the photographers who contributed to the record-breaking number of entries for this year's photo contest. The contest winners were announced on Nov. 8 at the Evening of Inspiration event in Portland. We are thrilled and honored to present the following winners and honorable mentions:

Grand Prize Winner

Category Winners

Honorable Mentions


Contest Information (spring 2017) 

Here's a challenge to capture your best-ever Columbia Gorge images! We're holding a photo contest to celebrate Preserve the Wonder, Friends' ambitious campaign to purchase and conserve 420 acres of stunning Gorge landscapes. This contest, however, celebrates the wonders of the entire Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area.

Follow us on Facebook and Instagram for trail alerts, wildflower bloom reports and other information to guide your next photo expedition into the Gorge. If you post your photos on social media, use the hashtag #preservethewonder.

Photo Contest Categories

The Columbia River Gorge is a one-of-a-kind landscape, and our spring hike challenge highlights qualities that make the Gorge a place of wonder and awe. This year's photo contest highlights five categories of Gorge wonders:

  • Cultural – Culture runs deep in the Columbia River Gorge, in some places reaching back 10,000 years or more. Petroglyphs, Maya Lin's Bird Blind and the Historic Columbia River Highway are just a few examples of the lasting impressions made by humans on the region.
  • Scenic – This includes anything not covered by the other categories. Vistas, be they photographed at sunrise or the "golden hour," are the visual calling cards of the Gorge.
  • Waterfalls – The Gorge has the densest concentration of waterfalls anywhere in North America. No matter what type of falls, a shot of one of these Gorge icons is extra special.
  • Wildflowers– More than 800 types of wildflowers bloom in the Gorge, 15 species of which grow nowhere else on earth. Find and photograph your favorite blooms!
  • Wildlife – The Columbia Gorge is home to both easy-to-spot and elusive wildlife. Which can you capture with your lens?
Youth Photographers – We will be recognizing shutterbugs under 18 years old in all of the above categories.

Contest Rules

  • Photos may be submitted between May 29 and Sept. 10, 2017.
  • Photos must be taken by you in the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area (view maps: Western Gorge and Eastern Gorge).
  • Photos taken in past years will be accepted, but extra consideration will be given by the judges to photos taken this year.
  • You may submit ten (10) photographs for the duration of the contest. You may submit photos in any number of categories. If you submit more than ten photos, only the first ten submitted will be considered by the judges.
  • Please do not submit photos that clearly identify the faces of people not accompanying you.
  • People in photos must be demonstrating good land stewardship ethics and behaving in a lawful manner. Inappropriate photos will be ineligible for the contest.
  • When taking photos, please stay on trails and practice Leave No Trace principles.


  • Participants' Prize Drawing: All entrants are entered into a drawing to win an overnight stay at Skamania Lodge.
  • Grand Prize: One winner will receive a $300 gift card to Pro Photo Supply and a Columbia Sportswear backpack.
  • Category Winners Prize: For each of the five contest categories, one winner will receive a $120 Pro Photo Supply gift card and a Columbia Sportswear backpack.
  • Youth Photographer Winner (one winner): $100 Pro Photo Supply gift certificate and a Columbia Sportswear backpack
Prize winners will be notified by email to the address from which the photo was submitted or by the method provided for mail-in entries.

How to Submit Your Photo

  • Please submit photos in the largest file size possible (up to 30 MB), with no watermarks.
  • Preferred method to submit photo(s) is by uploading them online. For each photo, please fill in the required boxes. In the "Photo Description" box, include the following:
    • Date photo was taken
    • A brief description of what the photo depicts
    • The intended contest category
    • The approximate location where you took the photo (example: “at Starvation Creek”; “Mosier Twin Tunnels”)

    Mail-in option: Save your photo(s) to a flash drive  and mail to Preserve the Wonder Photo Contest, Friends of the Columbia Gorge, 333 SW Fifth Ave., Suite 300, Portland, OR 97204. Please include the above information about each photo, as well as an email address or phone number so we may contact you if you are a winner. Flash drives will be returned if a self-addressed, stamped envelope is included.

    Contest Judging

    Winning photos will be selected by a committee consisting of volunteer photographers and Friends of the Columbia Gorge staff.