Parking fees will once again be waived at Pacific Northwest state park sites the day after Thanksgiving, an ongoing tradition that encourages people to go outside rather than go shopping.
Visitors to state parks in Oregon and Washington will be able to park for free on Friday, Nov. 26, as parks departments in both states waive all parking fees that are normally charged to visitors who don’t have already annual park passes.
The fee-free holiday is called Green Friday in Oregon. In Washington, the parks department is calling the day 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. Parking is free year-round at most state park sites.
Washington State Parks will waive all its Discover Pass fees for the day, which normally cost $10 to park at most recreation sites. The agency also offers nearly a dozen other fee-free days throughout the year, including New Year’s Day, Earth Day and Juneteenth.
Parking will also be free at all parks run by Metro, found around the Portland metropolitan area. 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, encouraging people to enjoy the outdoors instead of shopping. That announcement inspired the Oregon parks department to follow suit and waive all 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. “We are proud to partner with REI to promote this tradition, and offer Oregonians an alternative to the busiest shopping day of the year.”