Colorado state parks will offer free admission on Black Friday

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Rocky Mountain National Park (Kevin J. Beaty) rocky mountain national park; nature; tourism; wilderness; kevinjbeaty

Rocky Mountain National Park (Kevin J. Beaty)

#FreshAirFriday is back for the second year, encouraging Coloradans to forego the mall the day after Thanksgiving in favor of some quality time with good old Mother Nature.

The statewide initiative grants outdoor enthusiasts free access to all 42 of Colorado’s state parks, courtesy of Great Outdoors Colorado — the board established in the early 1990s to preserve and enhance Colorado’s open spaces. This marks the second year for #FreshAirFriday in what Great Outdoors Colorado and Colorado Parks and Wildlife hope will become an annual tradition.

It's a long-time Colorado tradition to get outside,” Colorado Parks and Wildlife Director Bob Broscheid said in a statement. “This Black Friday we invite you to start a new family tradition of enjoying the Colorado state parks together for free if you aren’t shopping.”

Five other states—Arizona, California, Delaware, Indiana and Minnesota—have also taken up similar campaigns this year, encouraging potential shoppers to spend Black Friday outside with slogans like #OptOutside and #GreenFriday, Attn reported.

The backlash against the infamous holiday shopping frenzy seems to have taken root in 2014, according to CNN, when Costco, GameStop and Nordstrom announced they would close their doors on Thanksgiving, ostensibly to give their employees a holiday break.

Then, in 2015, Denver-based REI announced it would close for Thanksgiving and Black Friday — offering no special deals, but instead encouraging its active customer base to, instead, indulge their wild instincts, the Atlantic reported.

The state of Colorado followed suit. Leading up to Black Friday 2015, Gov. John Hickenlooper released a statement lauding REI and encouraging other Coloradans to get outside and get some family time instead of queuing up in crowded retailers.

“We hope this offer inspires families in particular to make an outdoor adventure at a Colorado State Park not only a Thanksgiving tradition for their kids but a regular activity all year long,” former Great Outdoors Colorado executive directorLise Aangeenbrug said in the 2015 statement. “Outdoor experiences benefit kids in so many ways that we are committed to helping making the outdoors as accessible as possible to kids of all ages.”

So Coloradans, the choice is yours. Will you be spending Black Friday chasing hot deals or will you get out and explore Colorado’s breathtaking views?

Tag @dnvrite in your #FreshAirFriday and #OptOutside adventures on Instagram and Twitter to be included in our #FreshAirFriday roundup.

Multimedia business & healthcare reporter Chloe Aiello can be reached via email at [email protected] or

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