Work off those Thanksgiving calories by getting outside and taking a hike at a Rhode Island state park or wildlife management area on November 29. Post a picture for a chance to win prizes from REI.
PROVIDENCE – The Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (DEM) along with specialty outdoor retailer REI Co-Op and America's State Parks are encouraging individuals and families to opt for a healthier way to spend Black Friday – one that reconnects them with nature by spending time outdoors. Rhode Island's natural and public assets – including 8,200 acres of parkland, 400 miles of hiking and biking trails, 25 parks and nature preserves, and eight saltwater beaches – offer healthy, stress-free alternatives to crowded Black Friday shopping. From hiking, biking, fishing, and more, there are many ways to enjoy time outdoors.
"DEM is excited to participate in the #OptOutside initiative," said DEM Director Janet Coit. "Rhode Island has an amazing array of historic parks and recreation areas throughout the state where residents and visitors can connect with nature and get active. What a healthy and fun way to spend Black Friday!"
Since 2015, REI has closed its stores and encouraged its employees to #OptOutside on one of the nation's busiest shopping days. This year's campaign asks participants to join in a nationwide day of action by joining in cleanups. You may take part by picking up litter while out in a state park or wildlife management area on November 29. Take a photo and tag @RIStatePark and @REI on Instagram or Facebook and use hashtag #OptOutside for a chance to win prizes.
Everyone who posts a photo of a Rhode Island state park or wildlife management area and tags @RIStateParks and @REI while using the #OptOutside hashtag on Black Friday will be entered into the photo contest. The best photos that exemplify the spirit of #OptOutside will be awarded REI gift certificates for boat rentals at Lincoln Woods State Park and a grand prize will be given to the best photo that best portrays litter clean-up. For more information about the contest, visit www.dem.ri.gov/optoutside or contact Tom Rosa at firstname.lastname@example.org.
As part of a larger network of recreational opportunities in Rhode Island, state parks play an important role in supporting public health, attracting tourism, providing affordable staycation options for Rhode Island families, and promoting a healthier environment. Rhode Island's natural and public assets are magnets, attracting more than 9 million Rhode Islanders and tourists a year. They're also an engine that adds an estimated $315 million to the economy, generating nearly $40 million in state and local taxes and supporting nearly 4,000 jobs a year.
Everyone who enjoys parks, beaches, and public outdoor spaces has a responsibility to keep them clean. Consistent with this ethic, DEM continues to promote a carry-in/carry-out trash policy that has been in effect since 1992. DEM's carry-in/carry-out policy encourages visitors to take personal responsibility, take their trash with them, and leave no trace behind. Along with the National Park Service and most state park systems across the country, DEM believes this is a best practice that promotes conservation, fosters a sense of stewardship, and leads to better visitor experiences.
For more information about Rhode Island state parks and other DEM divisions and programs, visit http://www.dem.ri.gov/. Follow us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/RhodeIslandDEM or on Twitter (@RhodeIslandDEM) for timely updates.