Arkansas State Parks Offers Black Friday Alternative

WEST FORK (KFSM) -- Employees at Arkansas State Parks are encouraging people to skip Black Friday shopping this year and head outdoors for Green Friday.

An Arkansas State Park ranger came up with the idea hoping to inspire Arkansans to learn more about the outdoors and give people a healthy alternative to shopping.

"The idea was to get people back into nature and into the parks to relax the day after Thanksgiving," Devil's Den State Park Interpreter Terry Elder said. "There are plenty of shopping days until Christmas, so to get people into the parks to get out, relax, work off a little bit of Thanksgiving dinner and just have a good time being outside, enjoying the weather [was the overall goal.]"

Each park offered various free activities.

"I like to go hiking rather than just going around in the store because it feels nicer out here and it's more energetic," said Natalie Wooten, who stopped by Devil's Den. "It's more fun for the family and it's free. You don't have to spend money."

Elder said she hopes this will teach people more about the outdoors.

"These are the kinds of things that really last," she said. "Families can get together and just share things and share being together, enjoying the outdoors, maybe learn about the outdoors while they're out there."

Many people said the upside to Green Friday is not having to spend money, but the opportunity to create memories is what really brought them outdoors.

"I think in some people's opinion, this is a better gift than stuff you buy at stores," said Elizabeth Mangialardi, who also stopped by the park.

And much like Black Friday prices, the views here are unbeatable.

"We're outdoors and it's nice and cool, and we're not spending any money," park visitor Susan Robison said. "I feel completely blessed that this place is here and open for us to do this kind of stuff. It's amazing and it's very beautiful out here."

Arkansas State Parks plans to advertise the outdoor alternative to Black Friday in the future.

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