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Photo contest winners: National park scenes like you've never seen

The National Park Foundation last year asked amateur photographers to explore U.S. parklands and come back with their best shots. With almost 20,000 submissions, lesser-known landscapes in Michigan and Wisconsin parks are the big winners in the 2013 Share the Experience contest.

Courtney Kotewa of Michigan won the $15,000 grand prize for her photo of Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore in northern Michigan. And she wins another distinction too: Her photo will appear on the 2015 National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Annual Pass.

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The photo of Lover's Leap Arch was taken in August during a kayaking trip with her family. "Most people wouldn't associate such stunning scenery with our state, so I think it's great to be able to represent some of the natural beauty that we know exists here," Kotewa told Michigan Live.

Second-place prize of $10,000 went to Michael DeWitt of Ashland, Wis., for an icy photo taken during a winter canoe trip in Apostle Islands National Lakeshore in Wisconsin-side Lake Superior.

Third place carried a $2,500 prize and was awarded to Darrell Staggs of Mooresville, Ind., for his unusual photo of a hiker's reflection in still waters at Glen Canyon National Recreation Area on the Arizona-Utah border. (See all the 2013 winners.)

The 2014 Share the Experience photo contest is open from now through Dec. 31. Categories include adventure and outdoor recreation; historical and cultural; scenic, seasons and landscapes; Let's Move outside; wildlife; and a new category, night skies.

Top three photographer winners will receive $10,000, $5,000 and $3,000 respectively.

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