3rd annual After Thanksgiving Hikes planned at state parks

Published 9:24 am Wednesday, November 23, 2016


Looking to get back outdoors after a Thanksgiving Day meal? Tennessee State Parks is providing the perfect chance.
Tennessee State Parks is partnering with Recreational Equipment, Inc. (REI) for their “Opt Outside” campaign and offering free, guided hikes at each of the 56 state parks.
“Our public lands are here for all to enjoy and the After Thanksgiving Hikes are a perfect way to have fun with friends and family during the holiday,” said Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation Commissioner Bob Martineau. “Our parks offer something for everyone, so all ages and abilities are encouraged to join us for a peaceful stroll or a rugged trek.”
Roan Mountain State Park and Sycamore Shoals State Park will both offer guide trail hikes on Friday, Nov. 25.
“It’s been a great event,” RMSP Manager J.R. Tinch said. “Each of the 56 state parks offer a special hike as a healthy alternative to people looking to do something else on Black Friday.”
RMSP will offer the Tom Gray Hike, beginning at 9:30 a.m. The trail, which is under a mile, will be something that participants of all ages can have fun with, Tinch said.
“It’s a small hike,” he added. “So we’d like to encourage people who want to visit to come out and enjoy the sights of the park. We ask people to dress appropriate for the weather and we’ll meet at the campground check-in at 9:30 a.m.”
Sycamore Shoals is offering a “Heritage Hike” on the park’s ground, set to begin at 7 a.m.
REI is spearheading the campaign with their #OptOutside campaign, Tinch added, which the campaign uses to help individuals stay away from the stores and to enjoy what Mother Native has to offer. The company is closing doors of its 143 retail locations and playing their employees to enjoy the outdoors.
“We believe in REI’s message that enjoying the outdoors is a great way to recharge during a busy holiday season,” Deputy Commissioner of Parks and Conservation Brock Hill said in a statement to the Elizabethton Star. “While REI is challenging its employees and customers to get outside the day after Thanksgiving, we challenge all of these folks to visit a Tennessee State Park that day and see what we have to offer.”
Tennessee State Parks is also offering a photo contest for hikers that take part in the “Black Friday” hikes. Participants are encouraged to share their photos while hiking on social media by using the hashtag – #OptOutsideTN.
The fall event is just one in the bag of tricks Tennessee State Parks uses to help encourage people to utilize the natural resources offered. Other statewide hikes the organization offers include Friday Day Hikes at the first of the year, Spring Hikes in March, National Trail Days in June and National Public Lands Day in September.
Visit tnstateparks.com online for more information on the event.

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