Done with turkey? Ditch the malls and head for the hills.
Dozens of outdoor retailers and several state parks have joined REI’s national crusade to close stores on Black Friday and encourage shoppers to enjoy nature instead.
“The idea has struck a chord – far more than we expected,” the company’s CEO, Jerry Stritzke, said in a statement. “Clearly people are looking to do something a bit different with their time.”
REI announced last month it would close all of its 143 stores in the U.S. on Black Friday and pay its 12,000 employees to take off on one of the outdoor and athletic supply store’s top sales days of the year. The company encouraged employees and customers to get outside rather than shop.
The Seattle-based company’s #OptOutside movement quickly went viral and prompted nearly 1 million social media users to share the Twitter hashtag.
More than 150 companies, nonprofit organizations, and state and federal agencies have been supporting the idea, according to REI.
Dozens of state parks, including those Minnesota, California, Oregon, Colorado and Delaware, will waive entry fees on Nov. 27.
Washington’s Mount Rainier and Olympic National Parks also plans to give out free passes that day as Tennessee offers free, guided hikes at all 56 of its parks.
“While REI is challenging its employees and customers to get outside on Black Friday, we challenge all of these folks to visit a Tennessee State Park that day and see what we have to offer,” Tennessee Department of Environment & Conservation Deputy Commissioner Brock Hill said in a statement.
State parks in Kansas, Massachusetts and Missouri said they would give out special offers. Adventure seekers can take advantage of free overnight camping in Missouri’s state park Friday.
Some community groups are offering local outings and access to trails while Methow Trails in Washington state doles out free ski passes to REI members.
“We did this to share our passion for reconnecting with the people we love, in the outdoor places we love,” Stritzke said. “But honestly we are surprised by – and very grateful for – the number of groups joining in.”