#OptOutside this Friday

Overland Park, KS: Each year, half of Americans don’t experience the outdoors at all. No fishing or hiking. No climbing or biking. No paddling around the lake and no picnics at the park. Yikes!

That alarming stat comes from our friends (and partners) at REI, who are hoping to change our increasingly indoor culture with their #OptOutside initiative, which returns November 23.

Somehow, the day after Thanksgiving became a consumer free-for-all, where Americans flock to the stores instead of the outdoors. But REI will again shut its doors on Black Friday, encouraging its employees – and everyone else – to spend the day outside. 15 million people have participated in #OptOutside just in the past three years.

15 million is a huge number but did you know there are over 13 BILLION trips to the outdoors each year in the U.S.? As we #optoutside and encourage others to do the same, being aware of impacts is crucial. Be sure to clean up after yourself, stick to designated trails, keep wildlife wild, and be respectful of fellow outdoor enthusiasts. For more information about how you can minimize your impacts in the outdoors, head to our website (lnt.org) or check out our YouTube channel for short Skills Series videos that will teach you how to build a less-impactful fire, dispose of graywater, or dig catholes, just to name a few.

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So this November 23, skip the mall and head for the mountains (or the beach or creek or canyon). Sit on a dock and skip a few rocks. Explore a new park in your city, or return to your favorite trail. Or just visit the dog park down the street. The opportunities outside truly are limitless, no matter what part of the country you call home. Start making plans now and join millions more across America who will #OptOutside on November 23.

Not sure where to start? Find nearby trails on REI’s “Get Outside” site.

Learn how to minimize your impacts with Leave No Trace Skills Series videos.

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Leave No Trace's Joe Besl and Joe Creaghead are part of the 2018 Subaru/Leave No Trace Traveling Trainer Program that provides free, mobile education to communities across the country. Proud partners of this program include Subaru of America, REI, Eagles Nest Outfitters, Deuter, Thule, Taxa, and Klean Kanteen.