Parks Invite Public To “Opt Outside” on Black Friday

Nov 25, 2016

Locations in the National Parks Service along with state and local parks across the nation have joined the “Opt Outside” Movement – which invites the public to the outdoors on Black Friday.
Credit Courtesy National Park Service
If you’re looking for someplace to go on Black Friday to get away from the noise and bustle of early Christmas shoppers…your answer may lie in the Black Hills. We report on  two area parks are inviting folks to “Opt for going Outdoors” for some peace…and quiet…and fresh air.

According to the Recreational Equipment, Inc. website about 3 million people are choosing to “Opt Outside” on Black Friday instead of hitting the local mall.

The outdoor recreation corporation started the “OptOutside” movement last year as a way of getting people in the outdoors during the holiday season.

The new Custer State Park Visitor Center will remain open on Black Friday.
Credit Courtesy Custer State Park

According to the REI website, the company closed its locations on one of the most popular shopping days of the year, paid its 12,000 employees to spend time outside and invited America to join them.

More than 1.4 million people and 70 organizations chose to “OptOutside” in 2015.

This year Custer State Park joins the movement, says Interpretive Programs Manager Lydia Austin.

“We decided to encourage out visitors at our park to…instead of going and getting stressed out in lines on Friday and getting all that frazzled to Opt Outside,” Austin explains. “Take a break and de-stress and take a hike in the park and enjoy the natural environment around them.”

The public is invited to visit Custer States park’s buffalo herd along the Wildlife Loop Road – but to keep vehicle windows closed and to stay at least 100 yards away from the animals if you’re not in your vehicle.
Credit Courtesy Custer State Park

To that end the new Custer State Park Visitor Center will remain open today, says Austin.

“And we’ll be encouraging our trails,” add Austin. “We have miles of trails. Our roads. Everything but the Needles Highway is open. We did get snow this last week so we had to close our Needles Highway for the season.”

The Wildlife Loop Road is also open. Austin invites the public to visit the park’s buffalo herd there but cautions to keep windows closed and stay at least 100 yards away from the animals if you’re not in your vehicle.

The Roof Trail is one-quarter mile in length and is considered a great hike for families with young children or for those with some mobility issues.
Credit Courtesy Jewel Cave National Monument

Jewel Cave National Monument is also part of the “Opt Outside” Movement. A park ranger will lead a hike of the Roof Trail. There’s also an interpretive talk on cave exploration by Chris Pelczarski a spelunker who’s explored Jewel Cave.

Additional tours of Jewel Cave are also available on Black Friday. 

Related links:

REI, Inc. https://www.rei.com/  Custer State Park http://www.stateparks.com/custer_state_park_in_south_dakota.html  Jewel Cave National Monument https://www.nps.gov/jeca/index.htm  National Park Service https://www.nps.gov/index.htm