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State parks in Oregon, Washington to waive parking fees on Friday

Idea is to encourage people to enjoy the outdoors

PORTLAND — Parking fees will once again be waived at Pacific Northwest state park sites on Friday, the day after Thanksgiving in an ongoing tradition that encourages people to go outside rather than go shopping.

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Visitors to state parks in Oregon and Washington can park for free on Friday as parks departments in both states waive all parking fees that are normally charged to visitors who don’t have annual park passes, The Oregonian/OregonLive reported.

The fee-free holiday is known as Green Friday in Oregon. In Washington, the parks department is calling it Autumn Day in 2021, and will rename it Native American Heritage Day for 2022.

In Oregon, the fee-free holiday applies to the 25 parks that usually charge a $5 parking fee. That includes popular spots like Smith Rock, Silver Falls and Fort Stevens state parks.

Washington State Parks will waive all its Discover Pass fees for the day.

Fishing, clamming and crabbing will also be free in Oregon this weekend, as no tags or licenses will be required Nov. 26 or 27.

The trend started in 2015 in the Pacific Northwest, when outdoor retailer REI decided to close its stores for Black Friday. That announcement inspired the Oregon parks department to follow suit and waive parking fees for the day, with Washington parks joining in 2017.

“The outdoors provides everyone a place to escape pandemic and holiday stress,” said Lisa Sumption, director of the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department.