Minnesotans opt outside on Black Friday

The holiday shopping rush is officially underway, but more and more people are chose to forgo battling the crowds on Black Friday  this year in favor of other activities.

In an unprecedented move, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources created a somewhat ironic Black Friday  deal by offering free admission to all state parks as an alternative to spending the day battling crazy crowds at the shopping mall.

The move was partially inspired by outdoor retailer REI’s decision to close all 143 of their stores on Black Friday, instead encouraging customers to “opt outside.”

Park rangers at Fort Snelling State Park in St. Paul were pleasantly surprised that their campaign was a hit. The car counter at the park had already reached 400 by lunchtime. Usually on the Friday after Thanksgiving, the park gets around 150 cars passing through its gates.

“I think more people are trying to get into relaxing and trying to unplug a little bit,” Dave Felleson, a visitor at Fort Snelling State Park, said.