#OptOutside on Black Friday; state parks free entry statewide

Joining the movement to get even more people to #OptOutside on Black Friday, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources will waive the regular Recreation Passport entry fee that grants vehicle access to Michigan’s 103 state parks and recreation areas, 138 state forest rustic campgrounds and parking for hundreds of miles of trails and feebased boat launches.

The #OptOutside movement was started by outdoor recreation retailer REI in 2015 to encourage people to spend time outdoors on Black Friday. Hundreds of agencies across the country, including the Michigan DNR, have joined in this year to strengthen that message.

As part of the popular day-after Thanksgiving tradition and in the spirit of the season, the DNR hopes the free entry opportunity will encourage residents and visitors to take time to explore and enjoy Michigan’s great outdoors.

There’s plenty to do, including:

Hiking one of more than 12,500 miles of designated state trails.

Fishing Michigan’s world-class lakes and streams.

Bicycling paved trails and roads or mountain biking across rugged terrain.

Hunting Michigan’s vast woods.

Watching diverse wildlife.

Reconnecting with family and friends to build new Thanksgiving traditions.

Those are just a few ideas. No matter which outdoor adventures people pursue on Black Friday, the DNR encourages them to share the experience on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and tag #OptOutside.

“Button up and head outdoors as part of this year’s Black Friday,” said Ron Olson, DNR Parks and Recreation Division chief. “Exploring Michigan’s state parks, trails and waterways is the perfect way to burn off some of those Thanksgiving calories, recover from holiday shopping excursions and enjoy the many benefits of nature, all while celebrating and experiencing what many of us love most about Michigan – the great outdoors.”

Although state park entry fees are waived Nov. 25, camping and other permit and license fees still apply. – L.R.

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