COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — The Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) is showing off the beauty of Ohio’s state parks through its 2022 Ohio State Parks Photo Contest.

Tuesday, ODNR announced the winning photos in five categories including, “wildlife in action, recreation in the parks, wondrous water, novice naturalist, and explore trails,” according to a release. The photos had to be taken after Jan. 1, 2022, and up to five images could be entered for each category. The winning entries were selected by a panel of ODNR employees, except for The People’s Choice Award which was chosen by the public.

“We love to see the parks from visitors’ perspectives,” said Chief Glen Cobb, ODNR Division of Parks and Watercraft. “These photographs celebrate Ohio’s outdoors and the memories created when family and friends gather in our state parks.”

Ashley Hendershot of Ashland captured the image that took first place, titled “Mohican Sunshine.” The photo depicts a mountain biker on a Mohican State Park trail with their arms raised in a victory stance as sunlight streams through the tall trees.

“This picture captures the hidden beauty at Mohican if you are just willing to seek the adventure,” said Hendershot. “This scenery can only be seen if you follow the mountain bike trail and get out and ride!”

The second-place shot, titled “Kayaking” was submitted by Michael Cordell of Johnstown. It shows an East Harbor State Park kayaker in the midst of lily pads, as they stop to gaze in wonder at the natural scene.

Third place went to Kimberly Jackson of Athens for “Home Away from Home.” The photo, with its pallet of vibrant greens and oranges, is of a camping set-up at Strouds Run State Park.

The contest’s grand prize was an Oru Kayak worth $900, the second prize was an Ascend Hammock Chair and BioLite Firepit, and the third prize was an RTIC cooler and Camelbak. The winners also received Ohio State Parks gift cards. Winners of the People’s Choice in each category received a free night of camping in any Ohio State Park campground.

All winning photos can be viewed on ODNR’s website.