News & Events

America's State Parks Join REI to #OptOutside on Black Friday

National Association of State Park Directors P.O. Box 91567 Raleigh, NC 27675 (919) 218-9222

For Immediate Release November 20, 2015

Contact: Lewis Ledford 919 218-9222,

America’s State Parks Join REI to #OptOutside on Black Friday

Raleigh – America’s State Parks has joined REI, the nation’s largest consumer co-op and specialty outdoor retailer, and its effort to offer the outdoors as a healthy, carefree, natural alternative to the massive Black Friday crowds of holiday shoppers. In October, REI announced plans to close its doors on Black Friday (November 27) at all 143 of its retail locations, headquarters and two distribution centers. Instead of reporting to work, the co-op is paying its 12,000 employees so they can do what they love most – be outside. The co-op is inviting the nation to join in by choosing to #OptOutside to reconnect with family and friends this Thanksgiving holiday. Jerry Stritzke, president and CEO of REI, said, “Black Friday is the perfect time to remind ourselves of the essential truth that life is richer, more connected and complete when you choose to spend it outside. We’re closing our doors, paying our employees to get out there, and inviting America to #OptOutside with us because we love great gear, but we are even more passionate about the experiences it unlocks.” State parks representatives suggest they have the perfect places for all those who want to “Opt Outside.” With more than 10,000 parks, historic sites, trails and more, state park areas are close to home. They offer a convenient and exceptional venue, with magnificent vistas, a tapestry of trails and a myriad of recreational opportunities to rejuvenate the mind and even work off the calories absorbed from the turkey, stuffing, yams, pumpkin pies that may be consumed on Thanksgiving Day. As of today, the following have created a different type of Black Friday promotion:

“America’s State Parks welcome people who venture out early to get the best deals and need to decompress in the afternoon, as well as those who prefer to avoid the crowds completely and wish to spend the day enjoying the tranquility and peaceful escapes offered in our parks” said Lewis Ledford, executive director of the National Association of State Park Directors. “Parks are a tonic for the mind, body and spirit at any time of the year. These experiences can be unlocked without a key and within a short drive from home virtually anywhere in the country.” America’s State Parks are to explore and experience. They encompass more than 18 million acres and provide for grand diversity – both remote and local in their offerings – and provide important contributions to the nation’s environment, heritage, health and economy. In an effort to get even more people to #OptOutside on Black Friday, the platform is making it easy for Outdoor Organizers across the United States to host Meetups – including at many state parks – and anyone who wants to #OptOutside is welcome to join. You can find #OptOutside Meetups near you from the hundreds already scheduled at “There are 4 million Outdoor Meetup members who enjoy all that state parks have to offer, all year long,” said Kristin Hodgson, Communications Director at Meetup. “We are thrilled to join forces with REI and the state parks to encourage people to #OptOutside this Black Friday and grateful to the Meetup Organizers who are leading their members to take part." Promoting and advancing the state park systems of America for their own significance, as well as for their important contributions to the nation's environment, heritage, health and economy. Download press release

Tennessee State Parks to Host After Thanksgiving Day Hikes

Each of the 56 State Parks Will Host a Hike NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Tennessee State Parks will offer free, guided hikes at all 56 of its parks on Friday, November 27, the day after Thanksgiving. This is the second year for this event, and one in a series of five statewide hikes throughout the year. “The After Thanksgiving Hikes are a perfect way to spend time with family and friends,” said TDEC Commissioner Bob Martineau. “Our parks are beautiful this time of year, and we want everyone to enjoy what our parks have to offer.” Tennessee State Parks is also partnering with REI Co-op, the nation’s largest consumer and specialty outdoor retailer, on their #OptOutside campaign. REI is closing the doors of 143 of its retail locations and has instead asked their employees to do what they love most, which is enjoying the outdoors. “We are thrilled to continue our partnership with REI on this as they’ve been a big supporter of several of our Tennessee State Parks projects.” said Deputy Commissioner Brock Hill. “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.” The hikes are designed for all ages and abilities. Some hikes will be approximately one mile in length and tailored for novice hikers, while others are lengthier and geared toward more experienced hikers. For a more in-depth look at hikes in your area, visit This link will also show what is offered regionally so visitors can see different options of hikes available. To help aspiring adventurers choose how to #OptOutside, features recommended hiking trails, which include many Tennessee State Parks. We encourage visitors on social media to use #TNgobblewobble and #OptOutside to share their trail experience. For more information, please visit PHOTO CONTEST INFORMATION After Thanksgiving Day Hikes ‪#‎TNgobblewobble Photo Contest! Send us your best photo from Friday, November 27 that represents the great outdoors from one of the 56 Tennessee State Parks. If your photo is chosen as the winner, you’ll win a free weekend getaway from Tennessee State Parks. Winner will have a choice between a two night stay in a cabin or an inn. Details

  1. Take a photograph during your After Thanksgiving Day Hike
  2. Send us your photo on Facebook ( or Twitter (@TennStateParks) by Monday, November 30.
  3. Use hashtags #TNgobblewobble and #OptOutside
  4. Our marketing team will select the winner based on the photo that best illustrates the great outdoors and all that our Tennessee State Parks have to offer!


Calendars Wreath Making James L. Goodwin Conservation Center, 23 Potter Road, Hampton, CT Friday, November 27th 10:00 am-12:00 pm OR 1:00 pm-3:00 pm Don’t waste your Friday off at the mall! Spend time with friends and family and make a seasonal wreath to hang on your door! For more information or to register please contact Emma Lorusso at or call 860-455-9534. Holiday at the Farm Osbornedale State Park, Osborne Homestead Museum, 500 Hawthorne Ave., Derby, CT Friday, November 27, 10 AM - PM Celebrate the holidays at the Osborne Homestead Museum and learn about Connecticut agriculture and the legacy of Osborndale Farm! Each room will be beautifully decorated to the theme of “Holiday at the Farm” focusing on the animals of the farm and crops grown in Connecticut. The holiday tours will run from Friday, November 27th through Saturday, December 19. After the tour take a walk on the trails of Osbornedale State Park and enjoy the beautiful fields, forest and ponds across street. Happy Thanksgiving! Diane