State: On Black Friday, eschew shopping for parks

James David Dickson
The Detroit News
Belle Isle

Michigan's Department of Natural Resources is encouraging Michiganians — and those who visit them — to #OptOutside for Black Friday and spent the day enjoying free entry at state parks on Nov. 24.

#OptOutside means that vehicle entry fees are waived at Michigan's 103 state parks and its 138 state forest camping grounds. That includes Belle Isle in Detroit.

Parking and boat launches are also free. But camping will still cost money.

Black Friday, as some call the day after Thanksgiving, has for years been a day of deep discounts as the calendar turns toward the Christmas season.

The state is hoping that people will use the day to enjoy themselves outdoors.

"#OptOutside is an invitation to residents and those traveling to spend time outside during the holiday weekend and help continue or build new Thanksgiving traditions," said Ron Olson, DNR chair, said in a statement.

Maia Turek, a DNR spokeswoman, said 2017 will be the second time the state parks will be open for free on Black Friday. Last year was the first. No numbers exist to estimate the number of people who took advantage.

"We want to encourage people to use their public lands because those lands belong to them," Turek said.