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REI names Newark top city in which to 'opt outside'

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Newark's 82 public parks afford 93 percent of residents an opportunity that many elsewhere do not have: a less-than-10 minute walk to get there. Nationally, only 55 percent of residents of large cities live that close to park land.

That’s one reason outdoor retailer REI Co-op and The Trust for Public Land named Newark one of the top 50 large cities in the U.S. to spend time outdoors. According to The Trust for Public Land, two in three people in America's 3,000 largest cities lack ready access to public lands.

"Last year, 150 million Americans didn't do anything active outdoors. That's a big problem. And when we look at why it's happening, we know one contributing factor is that not everyone has access to wild places," said Alex Thompson, REI vice president of brand stewardship and impact, in a statement.

Newark has 858 acres of city parks in all. There are 595,798 total acres of public land within a 60-minute drive of the city, and 551.88 miles of public shoreline within the same drive.

It’s also home to Branch Brook Park, established in 1895 as the nation’s first county park. It has since become a National Historic Site.

REI released the rankings ahead of its annual Black Friday closure, when it encourages customers to “opt outside” as part of a more comprehensive effort to reverse the social trend of humans becoming an indoor species.

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Gabrielle Saulsbery

Gabrielle Saulsbery

Albany, N.Y. native Gabrielle Saulsbery is a staff writer for NJBIZ and the newest thing in New Jersey. You can contact her at gsaulsbery@njbiz.com.

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