Earlier this fall, REI made waves in the outdoor recreation community and retail world when they announced that all of the 143 REI stores will be closed on Black Friday, the biggest shopping day of the year. The day off, the company reports, will extend to all of its 12,000 employees at REI’s brick-and-mortar operations, distribution centers and headquarters. REI says they are paying employees to take the day after Thanksgiving off and are encouraging them to spend the day outside with friends and family.

REI is also extending an invitation to all Americans to join them in turning Black Friday into an opportunity to get outside, using the hashtag #OptOutside to connect with others who have the same idea. REI has also launched Optoutside.rei.com, a website where REI employees have suggested outdoor recreation opportunities for others to experience. Many of those places are trails that nonprofits, government agencies and REI colleagues have helped to create and maintain.

In promotions for the company’s Black Friday announcement, REI notes that they believe in a society where everyone can enjoy the outdoors and connect with nature in well-maintained places. “We see Black Friday as the perfect opportunity to remind ourselves of this credo. As far back as 1901, John Muir said, ‘Thousands of tired, nerve-shaken, over-civilized people are beginning to find out that going to the mountains is going home.’ His words are even more relevant today.”

Learn more at Optoutside.rei.com.

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