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East Bay parks to waive entry fee on Black Friday

District officials hope to encourage residents to enjoy outdoors after Thanksgiving

By offering free admission at all of its 65 parks on Black Friday, the East Bay Regional Park District hopes to encourage locals to spend the busiest shopping day of the year outdoors.

Waiving the fees, which could cost the district about $24,000, is part of a movement that California, Missouri and Minnesota state park departments are participating in.

Participating parks in the San Ramon Valley include Sycamore Valley Open Space Preserve, Las Trampas Regional Wilderness and Bishop Ranch Regional Preserve.

Outdoor gear and sporting goods retailer REI initially pushed the idea of forgoing sales for trails by announcing that it was closing its stores on Black Friday and encouraging people to enjoy the outdoors.

"We think this is a great idea, and we're proud to be a part of it," East Bay Regional Park District general manager Robert Doyle said in a statement.

The district announced on Monday that it is waiving fees for parking, dogs, horses, boat launching and fishing permits at its locations. Entrance fees at Ardenwood Historic Farm will also be waived.

District officials said they do not believe the funds lost Friday will have a significant impact on the district's finances.

A list of parks and trails in the district can be found at www.ebparks.org.

— Bay City News Service

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