Friends of the Columbia Gorge, a Portland-based conservation organization dedicated to protecting the scenic, natural, cultural, and recreational resources of the Columbia Gorge — is accepting submissions for its sixth annual photo contest. The 2020 contest is entitled “Picturing Protection.”

The contest gives photography enthusiasts the opportunity to close out a difficult, change-filled year by capturing something that is dependable and comforting: The beautiful and inspiring sights of the Columbia Gorge. The contest also provides an opportunity for Friends to partner with the Pacific Northwest photography community and help illustrate the ongoing need to ensure that the Gorge’s wild, beautiful landscape is preserved for future generations, said a press release.

This year’s theme “recognizes that the Gorge’s stunning and largely unspoiled views are in large part due to the passionate advocacy of those who for decades have put in the hard work of protecting the Gorge, be it through activism, stewardship, and other acts of conservation,” said a press release.

“Living in the Gorge, I have the privilege of being inspired by these beautiful landscapes every day, but humans have a responsibility to care for this special place” said Paloma Ayala, a professional photographer and Hood River resident who has contributed her skills to activism and environmental causes, including taking aerial shots of the 2016 derailment and fire of a Union Pacific unit oil train in Mosier. “So much valuable work is done behind the scenes for us to enjoy later. These are not efforts of self-interest but of sacrifice.”

This year, Friends will honor winners in seven categories in addition to the grand prize winner. The categories are: Gorge Community Life, Human Works, Scenic-Eastern Gorge, Scenic-Western Gorge, Wildflowers, Wildlife, and Youth Photographer (age 17 and under). The grand prize winner will be chosen from all of the submissions and can come from any category. This year’s contest sponsor is Pro Photo Supply of Portland, which also sponsored last year’s contest.

Contest rules and entry guidelines

The deadline to submit is Dec. 31 at 11:59 p.m. PST. Any photos that to the best of our knowledge are taken from off-trail or closed-trail locations will not be considered. 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, Friends asks that photographers please stay on trails and practice Leave No Trace principles and practice Oregon and Washington COVID-19 guidelines.

For the complete list of contest rules, photo requirements, or to submit photos, visit gorgefriends.org/photocontest.