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Skip Black Friday shopping and visit an Oregon state park for ‘Green Friday’

Skip the shopping, skip the lines and skip the chaos this Black Friday because for the second year in a row, the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department (OPRD) will waive all day-use fees in support of what the department refers to as “Green Friday.

Although most Oregon state parks are already free and only 26 charge a $5 day use fee, Green Friday will also include special events held at select state parks featuring free refreshments, snacks, and the chance to enter a raffle for prizes from REI, Columbia Footwear and more. Find out details and register for the raffle online.

Read about some of Oregon’s celebrated state parks below and decide which one will provide you sanctuary from Black Friday’s mobs of angry shoppers.

Smith Rock State Park — Terrebonne, Oregon

Comprised of deep red-rock canyons, trickling rivers and a colorful environment, Smith Rock State Park is acclaimed for its variety of rock climbs and majestic scenery. The park is home to one of the toughest climbs in America, Just Do It, and offers numerous scenic trails and hikes, campgrounds, bouldering sites, mountain bike trails and other activities that are sure to compete with the consumerist tradition of Black Friday.

Smith Rock is open year-round and has been dubbed one of the 7 Wonders of Oregon. The breadth of opportunity would be well worth the 135-mile drive east of Eugene.

Tryon Creek State Natural Area — Portland, Oregon

Located just 15 minutes outside Portland, Tryon Creek is an easily accessible, lush haven of Douglas firs, flowers and other wildlife. Miles of forest trails allow for a full and satisfying immersion into nature.

Tryon is ideal for a quick trip into the trees, but this Friday it will be one of the four locations hosting the special Green Friday events with food, drink, raffles and trained nature specialists ready to help you better understand the wildlife that makes Oregon’s state parks so unique.

Silver Falls State Park — Sublimity, Oregon

Sprawling more than 9,000 acres in the Cascade Range, Silver Falls is Oregon’s largest state park. The park is aptly named, boasting stunning waterfalls accessible by trail, including a 177-foot wall of water at the South Falls. With 25 miles of backcountry trails, there is plenty of opportunity for hiking, mountain biking, or nature watching — just beware of bears and cougars that might inhabit the more remote areas of the forest.

Silver Falls has expansive grass areas and great picnicking facilities, so pack a lunch and head 25 miles east of Salem this Friday to avoid Black Friday’s frenzy. And as one of the locations of Green Friday’s special events, you might even win a prize from the raffle.

Jasper State Recreation Site — Pleasant Hill, Oregon

This riverside oasis is less than a 20-minute drive east of Eugene, making it a convincing destination for students staying in town for Thanksgiving weekend. Jasper State Recreation Site is a popular place for fishing, canoeing, kayaking and picnicking, but it’s mostly a relaxing alternative to the hustle and bustle of Black Friday’s unruly crowds. Take a walk along River Trail, breathe in the fresh and quiet air, and recognize the bountiful nature that surrounds you.

Green Friday special events will take place at Silver Falls State Park, Tryon Creek Natural Area, Champoeg State Heritage Site and L.L. Stub Stewart State Park. Visit the Oregon State Parks website for more information.

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Carleigh Oeth

Carleigh Oeth