Get outside! East Bay park district waives fees on Green Friday

East Bay Regional Park District leaders are waiving fees for activities at their parks on Friday in an effort to encourage people to spend the day outdoors instead of shopping.

Known as Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving traditionally has been a busy day of holiday shopping, but this is the fifth year that the park district is holding what it calls a "Green Friday" by making its parks 
free to the public.

That means fees will be waived for parking, dogs, horses and boat launching and fishing, including entrance to the Ardenwood Historic Farm in Fremont.

Park district leaders said that with more than half of holiday shopping now taking place online, the public has more time to spend with family and friends, including the day after Thanksgiving.

FILE ART - People enjoy the East Bay Regional Park District.

 "Exploring regional parks together is a great way to spend time with loved ones," East Bay Regional Park District General Manager Robert Doyle said in a statement.   "Spending time in nature enhances physical and mental health, and strengthens bonds and connections with friends and family."  

The park district said its Green Friday is part of the "OptOutside" movement that started in 2015 when REI closed its doors on Black Friday and encouraged its employees and the public to explore the 
outdoors instead of shopping.

The district said millions of people and hundreds of organizations 
now participate in .OptOutside each year.

 Tilden Regional Park Supervisor Dave Weaver said, "On Green Friday, Tilden Park sees huge numbers of families spending quality time together."

Weaver said, "It's great to see so many smiling happy faces enjoying the trails, picnic sites and Little Farm." 

The Green Friday fee waiver doesn't apply to state fees, including fishing licenses and watercraft inspections for invasive mussels, or park district concessions such as the Tilden Merry-Go-Round and the Redwood Valley Railway steam train.

People can visit to find a park or activity.