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First Hike Fairfax contest offers $100 gift cards for top photos of county trails

Walkers turn corner of a trail in Chantilly’s Ellanor C. Lawrence Park (staff photo by Angela Woolsey)

To kick off the new year, the Fairfax County Park Foundation is offering hikers gift cards ranging from $75 to $100 for their best photos of local trails.

This upcoming Monday, Jan. 1, hikers are invited to snap pictures while exploring any of the county’s 334 miles of trails.

Started in 2017, the First Hike Fairfax contest encourages professional and amateur photographers of all ages to capture a range of scenes on Fairfax County Park Authority-owned trails, including landscapes, wildlife and people.

The contest aims to highlight the county’s public spaces, foster community connections and encourage residents to explore its “hidden gems,” says the park authority’s public information officer, Ben Boxer.

“The effort is designed to encourage individuals and families to get a healthy start to the new year by enjoying time outdoors and taking a walk in the park,” he told FFXnow.

To win a park authority gift card, photographers must submit their best shots online before noon on Tuesday, Jan. 2. A link will be posted on the county’s website at 7 a.m. on Monday, according to a press release.

Participants with the best photos can win one of seven prizes.

  • People’s Choice — $100 Park Authority Gift Card.
  • Judges’ Choice — $100 Park Authority Gift Card.
  • Director’s Choice — $100 Park Authority Gift Card
  • Best in Show (Scenery/Landscapes) — $75 Park Authority Gift Card
  • Best in Show (People) — $75 Park Authority Gift Card
  • Best in Show (Wildlife) — $75 Park Authority Gift Card
  • Best in Show (Pets) — $75 Park Authority Gift Card

The link to vote for the People’s Choice Award goes live on Friday, Jan. 5, and will stay open until Monday, Jan. 8 at 5 p.m. The winners of the contest will be announced by Thursday, Jan. 11, per the release.

Only one photo entry per person is allowed, and it should be in JPG format, no larger than 5 MB. The submissions must indicate the date and specific trail where the photo was taken, according to the contest rules.

While minor digital enhancements like cropping and red-eye removal are allowed, significant alterations or additions like borders, frames, watermarks, or signatures will lead to disqualification, the rules say.

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