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.
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.”
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.
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.
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