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And the Winner Is...

Happy Canyon1                        copyright 2012 by Terray Sylvester

Before he heads out on his next adventure, Terray Sylvester probably has some laundry to do and photos to download.  Luckily, we caught one of his best shots in between trips as an entry in our first annual My Piece of America photo contest.  Terray is the winner of the competition, where we asked for your pictures of America's public lands -- from your favorite National Park to your best mountain view.  We received over 1,400 submissions and admitted we had a preference for the special places that the Sierra Club is working to protect, including great spots like the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks, the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, and beyond.

The winning photograph is a terrific image that captures the perfect light and beauty of the sandstone canyons of the Southwest, but it is also an agent for one of the Sierra Club's favorite places and campaigns -- Greater Canyonlands National Monument.  Beyond the boundaries of Canyonlands National Park outside Moab, Utah, lie even more canyons, creeks, nooks, and crannies at the heart of red rock country. This assemblage of roadless areas captures the Colorado Plateau at its best.  You've heard it on this blog time and again, this 1.8 million-acre proposal is a world-renowned recreation hot spot, a photographers playground, and an archeologist's dream.

A bit about our winner, in his own words --

I'm a graduate student at the University of Montana in Missoula, where I study environmental writing, policy, and science. I was born in Truckee, Calif., and I grew up in the Lake Tahoe area. Most of my trips in canyon country took place after I moved to Colorado for an internship with High Country News magazine, which is based in Paonia, Colo., on the Western Slope of the Rockies. From Paonia, it's a swift, spectacular drive out to the Canyonlands area in Utah. I took that shot while descending the Dirty Devil with a group of friends from Paonia. The Dirty Devil is a notoriously silty, shallow river, but fortunately my camera lens stayed a little bit cleaner than we did.

Terray's image offers us the best of the narrows of Happy Canyon near the Dirty Devil River of southern Utah, an area threatened by tar sands development.  Congratulations to Terray for his winning image, and thank you for helping us protect Greater Canyonlands. You, to,o can do your part by taking action at the Greater Canyonlands My Piece of America webpage and sending a letter to President Obama.

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