Livingston County residents have an opportunity to get outside, skip the busy shopping malls and spend the day in nature.

The Huron Clinton Metroparks and REI are again encouraging Michiganders to #OptOutside this Black Friday and walk, hike or bike off the thanksgiving meal and enjoy some time outside. Some parks are offering special programs for the day. The movement was started by outdoor recreation cooperative REI in 2015 to encourage people to spend time outdoors on Black Friday. Metroparks Chief of Marketing and Communications Danielle Mauter says they’ve again partnered up to encourage people to get outside, be active, skip the stores and visit local parks.
She says no matter what the weather, the Huron-Clinton Metroparks have activities for anybody’s interests from trails to hiking and biking or visiting the nature center - the day is just about being outside, in whatever way someone prefers. At Hudson Mills, Mauter says visitors can check-in to the activity center where they can get a trail guide booklet showing what trails to take along with some other goodies. She tells WHMI people can also “Opt to Act”, an expanded challenge to people to volunteer for clean-ups, volunteer in the parks or just make the earth a better place in general. Partnering with REI for volunteer opportunities is said to be a perfect match for the Metroparks as they are able to share their knowledge, enterprise and passion for natural spaces and stewardship of natural resources. One option for volunteers is to work side-by-side natural resources staff on invasive shrub removal but various opportunities are available. More information can be found in the attached press release.

Meanwhile, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources has also joined the #OptOutside movement by waiving all Recreation Passport entry fees on Black Friday so that individuals and families can enjoy their favorite state park, trails, campgrounds and boating access sites. Locally at the Island Lake Recreation Area, a hike is planned with the Friends of Island Lake State Recreation Area, REI, and the Crossroads Group of the Sierra Club. That link is provided. (JM)