For many, the day after Thanksgiving inaugurates a hectic season of holiday spending as crowds of consumers descend upon stores across the U.S. and individuals jockey for position in order to snag the juiciest deals. In the days leading up to Black Friday, you may be drawing up your battle plans in hopes of safely navigating the hordes and making it out with a few discounted treasures.
But if, like us, you find this prospect deeply exhausting, you may want to avail yourself of another option: This year, Save The Redwoods League and the California State Parks Foundation are teaming up to offer you an alternative to the Black Friday mayhem. Avoid the crowds and consumerism of Black Friday by taking advantage of over 100 California State Parks that are offering free admission this November 25th, AKA “Green Friday.”
Green Friday was reportedly inspired by the outdoor retail chain REI’s decision to close for Black Friday last year and offer its 12,000 employees a paid vacation day to enjoy the outdoors instead of being trapped inside stores and offices. Sharing REI’s belief that spending time in nature makes us all healthier and happier, the Save The Redwoods League sponsored a program similar to Green Friday last year, partnering with 48 redwood parks. The program was popular enough that free passes were nearly all claimed within just a few days. This year, Green Friday is better than ever, with more than twice as many parks participating, offering a total of 13,000 free day passes that provide access to California’s towering redwoods, sandy beaches, and miles on miles of hiking trails.
If it seems odd to head to the nearest state park on a late November day while you’re still recovering from yesterday’s feast, consider this: The Golden State, where it’s always sunny and temperate, is the perfect place to get in some late-season camping before parks across the country finally close for the winter. Plus, a hike through some gorgeous redwoods or along the coastal cliffs is a great way to work off some of those extra Thanksgiving calories. Your body will thank you, and being thankful is what this time of year is all about, after all. Experiencing a California campground with friends or family—or even on your own—is the perfect way to keep you mindful of all there is to be grateful for in this world, even for those having an awful 2016.
State Parks Director Lisa Mangat also believes that Green Friday provides an important opportunity for those who might not otherwise have the ability to visit a park or enjoy the outdoors to experience California’s magnificent state parks for the first time. She hopes that offering free day passes will provide incentive to those who rarely or never camp, as well as help foster a sense of human stewardship toward nature. In other words, this isn’t just for the veteran campers out there; if you’ve been meaning to visit a state park but just haven’t managed to get around to it, Green Friday is the perfect excuse.
Whether you see Green Friday as the perfect response to today’s political climate or simply as an opportunity to experience nature with your friends and family, you can head on over to greenfriday.org to print your free pass and check out the full list of participating California State Parks. In fact, you may want to head over there ASAP, because passes are going fast! Happy travels!
Aleina is a copywriting intern at RoverPass. Originally from Virginia but now living in Austin, she spends most of her leisure time gaming, reading in the sun, and obsessively documenting the lives of her cats.
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