by | May 1, 2020

Missourians have an abundance of outdoor activities available to them throughout the Show-Me State. But for more than a century, one of their best options available has been a visit to a Missouri state park or historic site. The Missouri State Parks system is arguably one of the fi nest in the nation. The park system includes castle ruins at Ha Ha Tonka State Park. History buffs can learn about Missouri’s past at any of the 35 state historic sites. The popular Katy Trail — a rails-to-trails project — offers the perfect place for those seeking a leisurely afternoon stroll, bike ride, or a multi-day, 240-mile test of stamina.

The parks are not a closely held secret to Missourians either. More than 18 million people visited the parks and historic sites — most of which are served by Missouri’s electric cooperatives — in 2019. And undoubtedly, most of them took a picture or two.

For the 10th consecutive year, Rural Missouri is honored to welcome Missouri State Parks back as the sponsor of the Missouri Snapshots Photo Contest. Year after year, our judges are blown away by the quality and variety of photos that are captured during every season.

The park system highlights the natural beauty of our state and connects its great citizens and guests to the outdoors. The parks and historic sites preserve the state’s diverse cultural resources that are enjoyed by all. And best of all, state parks are free to visit thanks to the citizen-supported one-tenth of 1% sales tax that ensures future generations will enjoy Missouri’s treasures.

Open to amateur photographers of all ages, this con-test features fi ve categories. “Capture The Beauty” and
“Making Memories” were the two most popular in 2019. Those categories will be back and we added “Hit the Trails” to showcase all the adventures a hike at Missouri’s state parks has to offer.

All eligible photos must be entered online at www. A total of 10 semifinalists will be selected in each category. The first- second- and third-place photographs will be published in the January 2021 issue of Rural Missouri. The remaining semifinalists will appear in an online gallery on the magazine’s website. First-place winners will receive a Missouri State Parks Getaway Package valued at $500. Second- and third-place winners will receive Missouri State Parks gift cards valued at $100 and $50, respectively.

Photographs must be taken at a Missouri state park or historic site. Entries will be judged on sharpness, composition, lighting, creativity and adherence to the category’s theme. The deadline to enter is Oct. 31, 2020. Questions about the contest may be sent to


1. MAKING MEMORIES – S’mores with your grandson? Your daughter’s first hike? Reeling in your biggest catch? It’s not hard to make lasting memories with loved ones at any of Missouri’s 88 state parks or historic sites.

2. CAPTURE THE BEAUTY – Missouri’s state parks and historic sites are blessed with an abundance of natural beauty: rolling prairies, rugged hills and scenic rivers. Entries should capture scenes worthy of a postcard or a canvas print on the wall.

3. HIT THE TRAILS – With nearly 1,000 miles of managed trails, Missouri’s state parks offer a perfect venue for your next hiking, biking, off-road or equestrian adventure. Entries in this category should feature scenes captured along a trail at a state park or historic site.

4. FUN ON THE WATER – Missouri’s state parks are perfect for those who are aquatically inclined. Whether it’s fishing, kayaking, sailing, swimming or just getting your toes wet, take home the prize by capturing your perfect day on the water or at the beach.

5. CAMPING IN THE PARKS – Who needs a hotel? Park guests racked up more than 315,000 nights camping in Missouri’s state parks in 2019. Highlight the allure of a night under the stars and you could be well on your way to planning your trip for next year.


1. Photographs must have been taken at one of Missouri’s state parks or historic sites. For a complete list of parks, visit Photographs must have been taken at one of Missouri’s state parks or historic sites. For a complete list of parks, visit

2. Photographs must depict activities that conform to Missouri State Parks rules and regulations.

3. The contest is for amateurs only. If you earn any income with your photography, please refrain from entering. Up to fi ve photos per category can be entered, but no more than 15 photos total. Do not enter the same photo in more than one category.

4. All photographs must be entered online

5. Entries must include information in all data fields. Omitting any may result in disqualifi cation.

6. Photos that have been digitally altered beyond basic editing and toning will not be accepted.

7. Judges reserve the right to re-categorize entries on a case-by-case basis.

8. Photographers may win no more than one first-place prize. Winning images from previous year’s Missouri Snap-shots photo contests are ineligible.

9. Employees of the Missouri Department of Natural Resources, Missouri’s electric cooperatives and their immediate families are ineligible to win.

10. By entering the contest, photographers give Rural Missouri and Missouri State Parks permission to publish the images.

11. The deadline to enter is Oct. 31, 2020.

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