The #OptOutside Sales Pitch: Go Outdoors On Black Friday Parks systems are waiving fees to encourage people to skip the shopping and instead venture into nature. Here, 10 tips for safely enjoying wintry fun.
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The #OptOutside Sales Pitch: Go Outdoors On Black Friday

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The #OptOutside Sales Pitch: Go Outdoors On Black Friday

The #OptOutside Sales Pitch: Go Outdoors On Black Friday

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STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

This is the day that business has called Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving. For those who wonder, one of the stories of why it's called Black Friday is that it's a big shopping day when retailers traditionally made enough money to be sure they were profitable for the year - in the black. That's one of the stories, anyway.

In recent years, Black Friday inspired the opt out movement, persuading people to skip Black Friday shopping and do something else. Now, some state and national parks are taking part in the opt outside movement. They want people to go for a hike. Emily Russell of Alaska Public Media reports from Chugach State Park in Anchorage.

EMILY RUSSELL, BYLINE: I'm walking through a mostly birch forest. It snowed a couple days ago, so there's some fresh snow on the ground and on the trees. It's wild. It's wintery. And for Black Friday, the $5 parking fee in Chugach State Park is waived. In 2015, the outdoor gear company REI shut its doors on Black Friday and unveiled the opt outside campaign. Carrie Harris stopped in to REI here in Anchorage the day before Thanksgiving.

CARRIE HARRIS: Right now, I am shopping for a hat for myself.

RUSSELL: Harris says she's glad REI is closed on Black Friday. After a late breakfast that she says will probably include some turkey, Harris and her family plan to steer clear of the shops today.

HARRIS: Well, my in-laws are in town and - with their three little boys. We're going to get out and do some sledding and try to stay away from downtown, all of civilization here in Anchorage, and just spend time together as a family outside.

RUSSELL: They can do that at any state park in Alaska for free today. Ethan Tyler is the director of the state's office of parks and recreation.

ETHAN TYLER: We're certainly encouraging people to use the hashtag #optoutside. And as part of that, we are waiving all of our parking fees.

RUSSELL: And others are doing the same, from Mount Ascutney State Park in Vermont to Mt. Rainier National Park in Washington. If you do opt outside, you might miss out on some bargains at the store, but the payoff can be huge.

Just walked around this corner, and I'm now in this big bowl surrounded by mountains on three sides. And right now, I see two moose. And they've stopped moving right now. I think they see me or at least they hear me - really just spectacular.

For NPR News, I'm Emily Russell in Anchorage.

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