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By Michelle Mowad, County of San Diego Communications Office

November 21, 2018 (San Diego) - Don’t want to fight the crowds on Black Friday? Enjoy a park at your own pace. County Parks and Recreation has declared Friday, Nov. 23 “Green Friday” to prompt families and friends to spend more quality time together outside on the day after Thanksgiving. Take a hike, tour a canyon, meet an animal ambassador – it’s all possible at parks on Green Friday.

Here are five great ways to celebrate the day:

1. Visit a Park for Free

Parking fees will be waived at all County parks and preserves on Friday. Plus, Lyft is offering a free ride up to $10 to the four park destinations with Green Friday activities below. Use code GREENFRIDAY  under “Promos” when you book. Get details.

2. Hike Off the Turkey and Pie at Wilderness Gardens County Preserve

Join a park ranger for a 4-mile guided hike at 9 a.m. You’ll be rewarded with views of Pauma Valley, Palomar Mountain and the San Luis Rey River. Learn about local plants and animals while exploring historic sites that tell the story of our region’s earliest settlers.

3. Explore The Canyon with a Rangerat Sycamore Canyon/Goodan Ranch County Preserve

Join a ranger on a tour of Sycamore Canyon at 9 a.m. This popular trail system features an abundance of local wildlife. Look up to see hawks, yellow-rumped warblers and white-crowned sparrows. Look down to see lizards, insects and if you’re lucky, a snake! Round-trip, this relatively easy hike is just 2 miles, so you’ll have ample time to continue on to the visitor center. Meet at the Goodan Ranch Staging Area at 16281 Sycamore Canyon Road, Poway.

4. Plant a Tree and Volunteer atFelicita County Park

Plant a tree you can revisit and watch grow for years to come. Volunteers will also be beautifying the creek bed with general maintenance and trash clean-up. Bring work gloves, sturdy shoes and plan to get a little dirty. This event runs 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

5. Meet Animal Ambassadors at Sweetwater Summit Regional Park

Head south to Bonita and spend a day at Sweetwater. Hike the trails, picnic near the playground, explore the amphitheater and then head to the ranger station from 2 to 3 p.m. for a meet-and-greet with real-live animal ambassadors like snakes and lizards. You’ll also be able to touch animal skins and pelts while learning all about local wildlife.

County parks have more than 350 miles of trails where people can hike, bike, ride a horse, sightsee and picnic. There are more than 100 locations to choose from. Select your destination alphabetically or by map.

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