Oregon State Parks Centennial Creative Challenge


Click on a thumbnail image to see a larger image and a description of the the inspiration behind the work.


Oregon's current Poet Laureate Anis Mojgani shared his thoughts about Oregon’s special places in a poem written for the Centennial celebration of Oregon State Parks. Now we want to hear from you!

What do Oregon’s state parks mean to you or your family, or how do they complement the Oregon mystique? Use Anis’ poem, The branch is both branch & tree, as inspiration, or draw from your own experience. Whether it’s a photograph, painting, dance, collage or a song you’ve written - be creative and submit a digital file of your creation and describe the inspiration for your work.

We can accept the following file formats: JPG, PNG, TIF, SVG, PDF, AVI, FLV, MOV, MP4, MPG, WMV.  Our submission system can't accept MP3 file formats. Please convert them to an MP4 file (or AVI, FLV, MOV, MP4, MPG, WMV) prior to submitting your work. Submissions will be accepted through Dec. 31, 2022.

See your submissions in the public gallery at the top of this page and on our social media accounts.

A copy of the poem text suitable for printing for your reference. Or, you can select an excerpt below recommended by the author.

Learn about Oregon Poet Laureate Anis Mojgani's vision for the
Centennial poem and watch as he recites.

Photos of Anis' visits to state parks which inspired his poem.

Questions? Send us an email.

Terms and conditions

Provided for your information and understanding. Please accept the terms and conditions during the submission process.

  • Please have parent/guardian submit if under the age of 18.
  • By submitting, you are granting rights for the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department to use your submission on our website and marketing materials. You agree to the following stipulations for the use of submissions:
    • Submitter is the owner of the asset(s). Submitter grants nonexclusive rights to OPRD in the promotion of OPRD parks, programs and services. Uses include, but are not limited to, publications, OPRD’s website, posters, postcards, print and digital ads, PowerPoint presentations, newsletters and reports. The asset(s) may be used for non-commercial educational purposes.
    • Credit will be given when possible, but is not guaranteed.
    • Participation is voluntary, and financial compensation will not be provided.
    • OPRD may choose to share the asset(s) with a third party for non-commercial use, including but not limited to a partner agency in the travel, tourism or outdoor industry; a media outlet, such as a newspaper or travel magazine; or another government agency, such as the Governor’s Office.
    • The undersigned guarantees that they have obtained all permissions and approvals required from third parties for OPRD’s use of the asset(s). In addition, the undersigned grants permission to OPRD to edit, crop and otherwise alter the asset(s) without restriction.
  • We reserve the right to share submissions on the gallery that best represent the poem and our commitment to serve everyone, are family friendly, and help us connect people with meaningful outdoor experiences.


Over Mosier in a meadow
wildflowering at my summer’s start
amongst the lupin and yellow balsam root
1700 feet above the Columbia River
I saw a crow snatch a squirrel
out of a burrow and the white tail of a deer
bounding away. Hidden amongst
the thin branched bendings I was shown
where the doe had made
their bedding in the softer grass.

From Rowena Crest I watched the Columbia River Highway curve
back from where we had come

snaking through the years and years and years of trees, rock,
and water, lain down so any and all could come from where they were

to be under the canopy of the woods and hear the water fall from peaks
to the rivers below on their way to the ocean.

I couldn’t get to these ghosts as the high water had come in
but saw in Detroit the stumps of what was sitting in the low marsh.

I watch trees outside my window pass
and am reminded of the wildfires of the year before
how across our state the flames ate the land as history often does.
Taking what was until gone and then often
in the only way we seem to know how, going over it.

Every leaf goes and returns in the body of another.
You, and this world will go and return in the body of another body.

Thinking of what is gone and what still is green,
my heart does not quite know what to do with itself.

I want for you to
walk in trees, held by the earth
in the same hand as the land.
How time becomes
something different
in the holding,
the length of our self becoming
both shorter & longer,
the way a branch
is both branch & tree.
How the tree in the forest
is both tree & forest
How me in the forest is forest,
and the forest in me. Everything a something
holds, is a part of the something.

The lupin and the prairie star,
are buds and blossoms, & also
meadow. As too crow and doe,
and I. Mountain fall, river flow,
the mouth of the ocean. All connecting
the what was to what will be.

I watch the water tumbling down
bathing the moss of the rocks
on the water’s way to the river that speaks
outside the right side of my car’s window.
The road under me curves,
the river below me bends, the trees above
and around, whether gone or still giving,
drape the state, blanketing us
not only by their boughs
but also that of us that were before.

To hold them, is to also hold ourselves.
A blanket for all. Woven and darned
by many before us.

Darned and rethreaded by those yet to come.
I want for you this blanket.

Darned and rethreaded by those yet to come.
I want for you this blanket, these trees
flanking us, threading their way up and down
the mountainside. Holding us, even as we hold them too.


Some bare and blackened with soot, others heavy with leaves
or becoming such decorating the stitch of the land,

the branches both burnt and green, the trees rise
around us on the road we took to get here.