Ready for a new day-after-Thanksgiving tradition? How about fresh air, time with family and friends, and a healthy dose of the great outdoors! #OptOutside on Black Friday, and enjoy free admission to Michigan state parks all day long.
The #OptOutside movement – started in 2015 by outdoor recreation cooperative REI Inc. – encourages people to spend more time outside and highlights the health and well-being benefits of being outdoors. Hundreds of agencies across the country, including the DNR, have joined the movement.
On Friday, Nov. 23, burn those Thanksgiving calories, recover from shopping excursions and explore some of the state’s best outdoor destinations. To help you #OptOutside, the DNR is waiving the regular Recreation Passport entrance fee that permits vehicle access to Michigan state parks, trails and boating access sites, though other permit and license fees still apply.
There are plenty of things to do outdoors:
- Hike, bike, snowshoe, cross-county ski or ride some of the more than 12,500 miles of state-designated trails.
- Cast a line and experience some of the best fall fishing around.
- Mountain or fat-tire bike across rugged terrain or pedal a paved trail.
- Find a new hunting spot by exploring one of Michigan's recreation or state game areas or state forest lands.
- Enjoy the peace and quiet of camping or staying in a rustic cabin in the off-season.
- Seek out Michigan’s backstory and visit a historic site.
"#OptOutside is a great reminder to take a break from holiday shopping, connect with the outdoors and, even, build new traditions over the Thanksgiving weekend," said Ron Olson, DNR Parks and Recreation Division chief. “The best part is that it’s easy to incorporate into your day since you’re never more than an hour away from a state park, state forest campground, state trail, historic site, hunting spot or body of water.”
Visit michigan.gov/dnr to learn more about camping, fishing, hunting and other outdoor exploring opportunities. For more on #OptOutside at state parks, contact Ron Olson at 517-243-1477.
In other DNR News:
Talk of trees in the fall usually centers on the changing leaves and where to see peak fall color displays. Right now, though, the DNR is encouraging Michigan residents to pay extra attention to something that's not so nice for trees: hemlock woolly adelgid – tiny, invasive, aphid-like insects from Asia that consume a hemlock tree's stored nutrients, slowly sucking the life from the tree.
These forest pests are waking up from their summer sleep to begin feeding on hemlocks; their presence already has been confirmed in Allegan, Muskegon, Oceana and Ottawa counties.
In case you missed it, earlier this month we ran a story on this invasive pest, including tips on identifying, finding and reporting hemlock woolly adelgid. Learn more at michigan.gov/HWA.