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Family nears goal of visiting every U.S. National Park

By Ben Hooper
Family nears goal of visiting every U.S. National Park
A Michigan family is nearing the end of their quest to visit every U.S. National Park, including Great Smoky Mountains National Park in Tennessee. Photo by Doug Lemke/Shutterstock

Dec. 13 (UPI) -- A Michigan family said they are approaching the end of their near-decade-long quest to visit every U.S. National Park.

Jim and Cheri Maitland said they, along with daughter Jamison, 16, and son Gerald, 14, have visited 417 national park sites since they started their project in 2010, and they only have a handful of parks left to visit.

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The family said they are on track to finish before the end of the year by visiting the 10 parks in Hawaii, Samoa and Guam, as well as the country's newest National Park in Kentucky.

"It's amazing what this has done for our family," Jim Maitland told USA Today. "A lot of people don't think that our history is important. But it's interesting. It shows us who we are."

The Maitlands said their project was inspired by the documentary America's Best Idea by Ken Burns and Daytona Duncan.

"The Ken Burns documentary changed our lives," Cheri Maitland told Mlive.com in 2017. "We got done watching it and I was crying because it was so well done. I turned and said to my husband, 'We're going to all the national parks.'"

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The family said they are hoping Guinness World Records will recognize them as the first family to visit every U.S. National Park.

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