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Steptoe Butte is among the closest national natural landmarks to Spokane, but many other photogenic sites are available within a day's drive.
Click here to see winning photos from last year's contest, which are featured on the Landmarks Program's 2012 calendar.
So far, the country has recongized 591 national landmarks representing an array of natural features, including dinosaur tracks and fossils at the Morrison-Golden Fossil Areas, Colo., and bioluminescent waters at Puerto Mosquito, Puerto Rico. Travel to Arizona to see the national landmark highlighting the largest impact crater known in the United States at Barringer Meteor Crater.
National natural landmarks include features on private, state, municipal, and federal lands. Program participation is voluntary and not all landmark sites are open to the public.
PUBLIC LANDS — Kahlotus Ridgetop, in Washington's Franklin County is among six of the newest national natural landmarks designated by Interior Secretary Ken Salazar.
Kahlotus Ridgetop, known for its remnant Palouse prairie, was nominated by the Washington Department of Natural Resources for the National Parks Service status.
The others designated last week are Hanging Lake in western Colorado, Barfoot Park in southern Arizona, Round Top Butte near Medford, Ore., and the Island in Oregon.
Each site was identified through a process that included a scientific evaluation and public-comment period to acknowledge each site's unique biological or geological features. No new land-use restrictions will be imposed.
There are 591 national natural landmarks.
Images of Washington state show up in three of the 11 finalists for a National Park Service photo contest, including the top spot, which went to the photo above of Mount Rainier.
That photo, of the mountain in the morning, was shot by Matthew Bell of Olympia and took first place. In the honorable mentions were a shot of the schooner Adventuress in the Seattle harbor and another of the Columbia River. All the photos can be seen here.