The votes are in! Check out the #WeAreTheWild Photo Contest Winners

What better way to celebrate the 50th anniversary year of the Wilderness Act than a photo contest that takes a visual jaunt through the amazing wild places the act has protected over the years?

We asked you to help us with this assignment and you were 100 percent up to the task! You shared gorgeous photos of wild places you enjoy across the United States, and they were amazing.

Below we unveil the winning photos. Enjoy!

Winning photos

Of Fire and Ice, Castle Crags Wilderness, California
Mike Shoys

Aspen Near and Far, Holy Cross Wilderness, Colo.
Jeff Clark

Mount Jefferson or from Russell Lake, Mount Jefferson Wilderness, Oregon
Darryl G. Lloyd

Chesapeake Bay, Md.
Heather Marsh


Runners up

Crater Lake, Crater Lake National Park, Oregon
Karl Schilling

Fields of Wildflowers at Rocky Mountain National Park, Rocky Mountain National Park, Colo.
Anita Merrigan

The Late Show, Pinnacles National Park, Calif.
The Walkers

Photo contest winners

Our four first place winners are receiving a copy of National Geographic photographer Peter Essick’s breathtaking keepsake book, The Ansel Adams Wilderness.The top four winning entries will also be featured in a special edition collection of 50th anniversary note cards celebrating the beauty of our wild landscapes.

More about the Wilderness Act and our wilderness areas

Today there are more than 750 designated wilderness areas in the United States, including those pictured above in our winning photos. But it wasn't always this way. Before the 1964 Wilderness Act, Americans did not have an official wilderness system or a official means by which to protect wilderness areas.

Written by The Wilderness Society's Howard Zahniser and passed with our support, the Wilderness Act revolutionized wilderness protections when it was signed by Lyndon B. Johnson on Sept. 3 of 1964.

The act created our National Wilderness Preservation System and gave Americans a way to designate future wilderness areas. It has made it possible for Americans to safeguard nearly 110 million acres (and counting!) of our most pristine wildlands!


Learn more about the Wilderness Act

SPECIAL FEATURE: Wilderness, Our Enduring American Legacy -- The Wilderness Act turns 50

How we designate wilderness