Annual Covered Bridge Photo Contest Winner Revealed

Winning photograph will be featured as this year’s edition of Visitors Bureau’s historic Covered Bridge Puzzle series.

BLOOMSBURG, PA – The Columbia-Montour Visitors Bureau is pleased to announce this year’s Covered Bridge Photo Contest winner. The winning image will be featured as the 2024 Covered Bridge Puzzle.  This year’s puzzle will be released in the fall as the fourteenth installment in the Visitors Bureau’s limited-edition series, and will feature the Johnson Covered Bridge for the first time. 

Tony Berard’s snapshot of the Johnson Bridge in Columbia County was selected as this year’s overall winner. Tony taught mathematics at King’s College for forty years.  During breaks from teaching, he experimented with travel photography.  Upon his retirement in 2012, he had more time to pursue photography as a serious hobby.  He joined the Hazleton Camera Club, where he has remained an active member, having served as president in 2023.  Tony and his wife live in Conyngham and enjoy visiting and photographing the historic covered bridges of Columbia and Montour counties.

Several other photographers were recognized in this year’s contest with an honorable mention designation: Ben Prepelka (photo featuring Sam Wagner Covered Bridge), Mark Koskulitz (Snyder & Johnson Covered Bridges), Margie Hunsinger (Hollingshead Covered Bridge), Bob Erlsten (Snyder Covered Bridge), and Kristina Martyniuk (Rupert Covered Bridge). The Visitors Bureau would like to thank everyone who submitted photos to the contest.

The Johnson Covered Bridge was built in 1882 by Daniel Stine. Stine built this three-panel Queenpost truss bridge for approximately $750. The Johnson Bridge is 61 feet long and spans Mugser Run in Cleveland Township, just east of Knoebels Amusement Resort and west of Numidia. The bridge’s namesake is most likely Adam M. Johnson, a farmer who owned the land where the bridge is located. Johnson also owned a boot and shoe store near this site. It is believed that the bridge was originally built to provide a safer crossing of Mugser Run to reach his farm and store.

The Visitors Bureau is now taking pre-orders for the 2024 Johnson Covered Bridge puzzles – cost is $18, tax included. Puzzles are 550 pieces and supplies are limited. Individuals interested in pre-ordering a puzzle may visit: itourcolumbiamontour.com/2024-puzzle-pre-order-form to fill out the order form with a name, contact info, and number of puzzles requested. No payment will be taken at the time of pre-order. When the finished puzzles arrive (likely in September), those on the pre-order list will be contacted directly to arrange pickup or shipping plans. Afterward, any puzzles not reserved for pre-orders will be made available to the general public to purchase at the Visitors Bureau Welcome Center. Puzzles can also be shipped for an additional fee.

A donation of $2 from every puzzle sold will be made by the Bureau to the Columbia County Covered Bridge Association to go toward restoration and preservation of local covered bridge treasures. The Columbia County Covered Bridge Association restores, preserves, and advocates for the covered bridges of Columbia County for historical and recreational purposes.  Their purpose is simple: they recognize the historic importance of the covered bridges as a public treasure to be available to, and be enjoyed by, the public. This non-profit association protects the area’s covered bridges not only for today, but also for future generations.

As an easy way to visit the historic covered bridges of Columbia & Montour Counties, the Visitors Bureau has also renewed a free mobile passport program that allows users to “check-in” at each bridge using their phone’s GPS proximity. The program offers directions and more information about each bridge along the way. Once travelers have used their passport to check-in at 13 bridges, they will receive a free commemorative patch as well as a handmade wooden replica ornament of the West Paden Twin Covered Bridge in Orangeville. If users complete all 25 bridge visits prior to December 31 of this year, they will also be entered in a grand prize drawing for an overnight getaway package in Columbia County as well as a piece of original artwork from area artist Pam Thomas. Those interested in signing up for the free passport may do so by visiting the Visitors Bureau’s website and navigating to the “Covered Bridges” page.

For more information about the Columbia-Montour region, and all the things to see and do in the area, please visit www.iTourColumbiaMontour.com or contact the Bloomsburg Welcome Center at 570-784-8279.