This Friday I’ll be out with family and fellow REI workers improving and cleaning an Appalachian Trail shelter (Whiskey Hollow Shelter) with PATC (Potomac Appalachian Trail Club) in Virginia as part of #OpttoAct and #OptOutside.

For the last five years Black Friday means something other than shopping for outdoor gear at REI. The outdoor co-op has been closing its doors to customers and paying its employees on the Friday after Thanksgiving for half a decade now on what is considered the busiest shopping day of the year in an effort to promote outdoor activity, coining the hashtag #OptOutside in the process.

The outdoor retailer has long seen a greater value for customers and its bottom line by selling more than just outdoor stuff to members. It’s big on experiences and encouraging a life lived more outdoors faced with the staggering statistics of sedentary lifestyles lived mostly inside, and the effects on personal health.

Now, the Seattle based co-op is poised to up the ante and take a more active role in protecting the outdoor spaces and places where its members and other enthusiast’s visit. Essentially the company is taking a more active stand against climate change, environmental issues and the protection of public lands. Members and customers are being asked to join in on a 52 week challenge to get more active, reduce your

OptOutsideenvironmental impact and leave the world better than you found it starting this Black Friday–Opt to Act.  There are official clean-ups for volunteers or you can develop your own DIY program using the provided suggestions. It can be as simple as picking up trash while you walk your dog or take a hike, shopping with reusable bags, saying no thanks to disposable cups at your local coffee shop, join a carbon offset program, recycle more 

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