PRATT – Swap the shopping centers for scenic views this Black Friday, as Kansas state parks will once again waive entrance fees as part of the nationwide #OptOutside initiative. All 28 of Kansas’ state parks are participating in an effort to get families and friends outdoors and enjoying nature.
On Friday, Nov. 27, state park visitors will have a chance to win a free night’s stay in a Kansas state park cabin of their choice. To enter, visitors must simply take a selfie within the park and share it on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram with the tags #OptOutside and #MyKsStatePark.
#OptOutside is the brainchild of outdoor retail giant REI, who in 2015 decided to close all 150-plus stores for a day and pay more than 13,000 employees to spend the day outside. It’s become a valued annual event for REI, state parks across America and the millions of people who’ve taken the day to grab some fresh air.
And this year’s event couldn’t have come at a better time.
“In the middle of everything, we have watched as people all over the world, some for the first time, looked to time outdoors to reflect, restore and connect with one another,” said Eric Artz, REI president and CEO. “We are focusing on what matters most.”
Earlier this year, Governor Laura Kelly encouraged Kansans to head to state parks for healthy recreation and relaxation – and thankfully, many have. As a result, Kansas State Parks director Linda Lanterman said attendance has been exceptionally high.
“We’re really proud that people could turn to Kansas state parks for hiking, cycling, camping, fishing and safely relaxing with loved ones out-of-doors,” said Lanterman. “Hopefully, #OptOutside will be a continuation of all of that with thousands taking advantage of what we have to offer, and at no cost.”
For more information on Kansas state parks, visit www.ksoutdoors.com/State-Parks.