#OptOutside and Recreate Responsibly This Black Friday

While we #OptOutside with REI this Black Friday, it is critically important for our community to recreate responsibly. We've gathered some guidelines to help.
The Mountaineers The Mountaineers
November 20, 2020
#OptOutside and Recreate Responsibly This Black Friday

For years, REI has closed its stores on Black Friday, paying their employees to #OptOutside instead. At The Mountaineers, we couldn't love the idea more. Our employees have always enjoyed the day after Thanksgiving as a vacation day, and two paid stewardship days each year to take care of their favorite places to play. We believe going outside is not just good for your health - but good for your soul. 

This year, getting out looks a little different. Our recreation community has come together to develop new tips to enjoy the outdoors during the pandemic and we're sharing them below. As we #OptOutside this Black Friday join us, REI, and other friends in the outdoor community to #RecreateResponsibly. 

Here are some tips for your upcoming adventures:


  • Know before you go. Check the status of the place you want to visit. If it's closed, don't go. If it's crowded, have a plan B.
  • Plan Ahead. Prepare for facilities to be closed, pack lunch and snacks, and bring essentials like hand sanitizer and a face covering. 
  • Explore Locally: Limit long-distance travel and make use of local parks, trails, and public spaces. Be mindful of your impact on the communities you visit
  • Practice Physical Distancing. Keep your group size small. Be prepared to cover your nose and mouth and give others space. And if you're sick, stay home!
  • Play It Safe. Slow down and chose lower-risk activities to reduce your chance of injury. Search-and-rescue operations and health-care resources are both strained. 
  • Leave No Trace. Respect public lands and waters, as well as Native and local communities. Take all your garbage with you.
  • Build an Inclusive Outdoors. Be an active part of making the outdoors safe and welcoming for all identities and abilities. 



If you get outside over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend, we encourage you to share your photos with us online using the #OptOutside hashtag in conjunction with our Mountaineers hashtag #OurPNW. Use it on Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter and we will share our favorites in the weeks after the holiday. 

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Sarah Taylor
Sarah Taylor says:
Nov 24, 2020 08:41 PM

"Stay Close to Home. This is not the time to travel long distances to recreate. "

Interested in the Mountaineers definition of 'close to home' as there are currently the following trips listed over the holiday weekend:
- Rock Candy Mtn - 80 miles one way from Seattle
- Sweet Peak, 65 miles one way from Seattle
- Bullion Basin - 83 miles one way from Seattle
- Lower Big Quilcene - 112 miles one way from Seattle
- Tonga Ridge - 91 miles one way from Seattle

Even outside of the pandemic, how on earth is this need to drive hundreds of miles for day trips in line with the sustainability goals of the Mountaineers?

The Mountaineers
The Mountaineers says:
Nov 25, 2020 08:03 PM

Thanks for your response. The Mountaineers and the Recreate Responsibly Coalition understand that people need the outdoors now more than ever. During normal times, we encourage carpooling to reduce our impact on the planet. We have seven branches and members who live throughout Western Washington, so distance from Seattle doesn't necessarily indicate the distance folks are traveling. For example, many of the people who participate on our trips on the peninsula also live on the peninsula. We also know that by choosing less popular (and sometimes further afield) destinations, we help reduce the inherent crowding on the outdoor places that are closest to urban areas. We are working with land managers, SAR teams, and other outdoor recreation organizations to help provide the safest, lowest impact outdoor recreation possible during a time when folks need it most.

Sarah Taylor
Sarah Taylor says:
Nov 30, 2020 01:44 PM

"We also know that by choosing less popular (and sometimes further afield) destinations, we help reduce the inherent crowding on the outdoor places that are closest to urban areas. "

I think you're missing the point here. Please don't ask others to "stay local" when the Mountaineers have no intention of "staying local" and thereby providing the illusion that the Mountaineers is somewhat "above" the rest of the people who also have needs during these times; it's known as hypocrisy and something I have seen a lot of in the Mountaineers.