Every year, while hordes of consumers line up outside of stores for Black Friday sales, outdoor retailer REI closes its doors and invites its employees and customers to spend quality time with Mother Nature instead. Various state and national parks have been enthusiastic partners of the #OptOutside campaign since its inception in 2015, offering guided hikes or free admission to participants.
This year, rather than simply opting outside, REI is encouraging its community to “opt to act” as well. In the weeks leading up to Black Friday, the organization collaborated with United by Blue, a sustainable outdoor apparel brand, to host cleanup events across the country. Not just a means of tidying up public spaces for everyone opting outside on November 29, these cleanups kick off a year of change. The #OptOutside campaign hopes that participants will “continue to act for 52 weeks with simple actions to reduce [their] impact, get active, and leave the world better than [they] found it.”
Here are a few of the state and national parks celebrating Black Friday—or Green Friday, as they call it—this year. Hit the trails the day after Thanksgiving, then check back throughout the year to lend a hand on volunteer days.
- Alaska State Parks will waive parking fees at all 156 facilities.
- Arizona State Parks is offering free day-use passes for more than 30 parks.
- Colorado State Parks will offer free admission to all 41 parks, many of which will host hikes and walks too.
- Delaware State Parks will waive entry fees on November 29.
- Georgia State Parks is offering events, including hikes, paddles, and hay rides, at many parks.
- Indiana Dunes National Park will host an expert-led hike and beach cleanup.
- Massachusetts State Parks will offer guided hikes at parks across the state.
- Minnesota State Parks and Trails is offering free admission to all 75 state parks as well as hikes and events.
- Missouri State Parks is running historic site tours on Black Friday; overnight campers will receive a coupon for a free night in the future.
- Oregon State Parks will waive parking fees at its 25 facilities.
- Tennessee State Parks is offering free ranger-guided hikes at its 56 parks.
- Washington State Parks will grant free admission at all its spaces.
Need more motivation to pitch in with a cleanup on November 29 or anytime next year? Check out REI’s promotional film featuring environmental advocate and drag queen Pattie Gonia. It got us totally fired up.
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