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Photo Contest Winners - 2013

Click on thumbnails for a larger version of the image. For official descriptions of these NNLs, please visit the NNL Directory. Be sure to view the top three winners from previous year's contests.




1st place Baker University Wetlands 1st Place
Baker University Wetlands, KS
Photo by Kenneth M. Highfill of Lawrence, KS

Designated a NNL in 1969, the Baker University Wetlands is an example of undisturbed wetland prairie. Over 260 species of birds and over 430 species of plants have been recorded at this site, including the water lily pictured here.


2nd place Emerald Bay 2nd Place
Emerald Bay, CA
Photo by Eric Grimm of San Diego, CA

A vividly colored oval embayment of Lake Tahoe, Emerald Bay was formed by moraines as parallel glaciers receded. Designated a NNL in 1968, the site is an outstanding example of glacial geology.


3rd place Canaan Valley 3rd Place
Canaan Valley, WV
Photo by Joseph Henry of Davis, WV

Located mostly within Canaan Valley National Wildlife Refuge, Canaan Valley contains a large aggregation of Pleistocene habitats seldom found in the eastern United States. It is unique as a northern boreal relict community at this latitude by virtue of its size, elevation, and diversity. This site was designated a NNL in 1974.



Honorable Mentions



Spanish Peaks Spanish Peaks, CO
Photo by David Kingham of Fort Collins, CO

Located within the San Isabel National Forest, the Spanish Peaks are large igneous masses that occur on the eastern flank of the LaVeta syncline, a major structural feature extending over 60 miles. Other striking geological features, such as stocks, laccoliths, plugs, dikes and sills are also particularly conspicuous on and around the peaks. The site was designated a NNL in 1976.


Summit Lake Summit Lake, CO
Photo by Kevin McLean of Blacksburg, VA

The Summit Lake area is one of the best examples of Arctic tundra in the conterminous United States. Located within Summit Lake Park at nearly 13,000 feet elevation, this area provides habitat for a variety of rare alpine-arctic plants, some of which occur only here and at the Arctic Circle. This site was designated a NNL in 1965.


The Glens Natural Area The Glens Natural Area, PA
Photo by James Evangelista of Oxford, PA

The Glens Natural Area, located within Ricketts Glen State Park, is a relict eastern deciduous forest, bisected by a stream gorge that demonstrates the region’s glacial and geologic history. Kitchen Creek flows over numerous spectacular waterfalls on its descent through the gorge, and illustrates the powerful process of stream erosion. The site was designated a NNL in 1968.


Red River Gorge Red River Gorge, KY
Photo by Tim Wood of Springfield, MO

Red River Gorge, located within the Daniel Boone National Forest, contains examples of many geological formations, including 41 natural bridges. Designated a NNL in 1976, the area is characterized by incised uplands, sheer cliffs and generally scarce flat lands. The site also supports an extremely diverse flora, including endemic, rare and relict species.


Fort Worth Nature Center and Refuge Fort Worth Nature Center and Refuge, TX
Photo by David Morgan of Fort Worth, TX

Fort Worth Nature Center and Refuge, designated a NNL in 1980, contains outstanding examples of cross-timbers, a unique oak-hickory forest association. The site also has good examples of prairie, riparian forests, marshes and limestone ledges, all of which support high wildlife diversity. Over 200 species of birds have been identified at this site, including the painted bunting pictured here.


Garden of the Gods Garden of the Gods, CO
Photo by Peter Hernandez of McKinney, TX

Garden of the Gods, designated a NNL in 1971, is an outstanding illustration of the origin and composition of sedimentary rocks, and of the vertical forces that produced the front range of the Rocky Mountains. Located within Garden of the Gods Park, the site contains the uncommon honey ant, and is one of the best sites in Colorado for observing white-throated swifts, swallows, and canyon wrens.


Valley of Fire Valley of Fire, NV
Photo by Tammy Espino of Henderson, NV

Designated a NNL in 1968, Valley of Fire is an outstanding example of thrust faulting. A great fold has been exposed by erosion, revealing huge rock formations, deep canyons, and a great variety of colors. Located within Valley of Fire State Park, the site also supports gila monsters at the northern extreme of their range.


Newberry Crater Newberry Crater, OR
Photo by Adam Jewell of Conshohocken, PA

Newberry Crater is a basin at the top of Newberry Volcano, a large, dormant shield volcano about 40 miles long and 25 miles wide. It is the largest Pleistocene volcano east of the Cascade Range. Towering above the caldera to the south is Paulina Peak, the 7,985-foot high remnant of the dome of the volcano’s vanished summit. This site is located within the Deschutes National Forest and was designated a NNL in 1976.


Monument Rocks Monument Rocks, KS
Photo by Rob Graham of Great Bend, KS

Designated a NNL in 1968, Monument Rocks Natural Area includes pinnacles, small buttes, and spires of the Niobrara formation standing as much as 60 feet above the plain. These erosional remnants of sediments deposited in the ancient Kansas Sea of Cretaceous time, are striking illustrations of differential erosion of soft chalk beds overlain by a more resistant cap of limestone.


Lost Maples State Natural Area Lost Maples State Natural Area, TX
Photo by Bryan Hodges of Tyler, TX

Lost Maples State Natural Area illustrates dissected Lower Cretaceous limestone of the Edwards Plateau and its flora and fauna. The mesic limestone canyons support a relict population of bigtooth maple. The site, designated a NNL in 1980, also contains the largest known nesting population of the endangered golden-cheeked warbler.


Last Updated: November 13, 2013