In celebration of the 50-year anniversary of the Wilderness Act of 1964 – an act that legally defined the term “wilderness” and gave protection to over 109 million acres of American land – the Smithsonian hosted the Wilderness Forever Photo Contest. Over 5,000 entries were submitted, documenting the beautiful landscapes and unique wildlife of this nation. Enjoy some of the amazing photos inspired by this contest below.
Red Fox, Denali National Park and Preserve, Alaska.
White Pocket, Paria Canyon-Vermilion Cliffs Wilderness, Arizona.
Mountain Goat Kids, Mount Evans Wilderness, Colorado.
Sunset Paddle, Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, Minnesota.
Aurora Ridge Trail, Sol Duc Valley, Olympic Wilderness, Washington.
Alaska Range, Denali Wilderness, Alaska.
Milky Way over Second Beach, Olympic Wilderness, Washington.
Bald Cypress Dome, Cypress Swamp, Marjory Stoneman Douglas Wilderness, Florida.
Whitney Moonrise, John Muir Wilderness, California.
Snowy Meadow, Mount Hood Wilderness, Oregon.
Yellow Poplar Trees, Joyce Kilmer-Slickrock Wilderness, North Carolina.
Keyhole on Longs Peak, Rocky Mountain National Park Wilderness, Colorado.
Climbing the Summit Pyramid of Sahale Mountain, Stephen Mather Wilderness, Washington.
Lake Ann Reflection, Mount Baker Wilderness, Washington.
Fossil Cave, Lava Beds Wilderness, California.
American Alligator, Marjory Stoneman Douglas Wilderness, Florida.