For the eighth year, the park system is sponsoring #OptOutside, a campaign that encourages people to forego indoor activities, such as shopping on Black Friday, and “opt outside” instead.
The campaign, which will run from Nov. 22-25, includes a photo contest with a $500 gift certificate as the grand prize. Other top finishers will receive gift certificates ranging in value from $50-$250.
To qualify, photos must be taken at a Virginia state park sometime during the campaign. Individuals may submit up to five entries, and winners will be selected by Virginia State Parks staff.
Prizes will be announced in a video blog post on the Virginia State Parks website no later than 3 p.m. on Dec. 1. All winning photos and photographers will be included in the video.
“Thanksgiving weekend is a great time to get outdoors and burn off some post-turkey calories,” said Craig Seaver, director of Virginia State Parks, in a press release. “There will be plenty of programs in parks throughout the state, so bring the whole family out and create some Thanksgiving memories.”
This marks the fourth year that Virginia State Parks has partnered with outdoor retailer REI for the campaign. The two organizations work together to promote outdoor activity and park visitation throughout the year.
At Natural Tunnel State Park this weekend, visitors can experience the first nights of the Lighting of the Tunnel on Friday and Saturday at 6 p.m. On Friday, those who bring two or more nonperishable food items will receive a free chairlift ride.
For more information, visit www.dcr.virginia.gov/state-parks.