As part of the popular day-after-Thanksgiving tradition and in an effort to encourage people to tap into Michigan's great outdoors, fees to state parks are being waived today.

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources has 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. The #OptOutside movement was started by outdoor recreation cooperative REI in 2015 to encourage people to spend time outdoors on Black Friday. For the third year in a row, the Michigan DNR has encouraged people to utilize the outdoors as part of their Thanksgiving weekend celebrations. The MDNR says exploring some of Michigan's best outdoor destinations is a great way to recover from holiday shopping excursions, burn off some of those Thanksgiving calories and enjoy the many benefits of nature as the holidays can get hectic.

Locally today at the Island Lake Recreation Area, there will be a group hike on the Hickory Ridge Hiking Trail. The hike starts at the Kent Lake parking lot at 1pm with the Friends of Island Lake State Recreation Area, REI, and the Crossroads Group of the Sierra Club. Participants are encouraged to dress for the weather and a hunting season hike, as firearm deer season is underway. The hike will be five miles or 2.5 miles, and organizers say there are plenty of points for people to drop off if they prefer a shorter distance. Details are available through the link. (JM)