Two-Year-Old Visits Her 45th U.S. National Park

by Samantha Whidden
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Achieving a major milestone that most adults have yet to achieve, a 2-year-old has officially visited her 45th U.S. National Park

According to CBS 3, 2-year-old Journey Castillo and her parents marked their 45th adventure by going to Voyageurs National Park in northern Minnesota. The San Antonio family made it a goal to visit all 65 parks by the time Journey turns three. 

While speaking to the media outlet, Journey’s mother, Valerie Castillo, shared details about the family’s exciting goal. “What are we doing with our kids and how are we shaping them or molding them to appreciate what really matters instead of things that are, you know, short term.”

The two-year-old’s parents also said they want her story to inspire other families to go outside and appreciate what nature is offering. They further reveal that after Voyageurs National Park, the family will be heading to New River Gorge National Park in West Virginia. 

U.S. National Parks Visitors Get Free Entry Today 

Journey, her family, and other visitors are able to get into the U.S. national park for free on Saturday (September 24th). The free admission is part of the National Public Lands Day celebration. 

CNN reports that the special event was created in 1994 and is described as the nation’s largest single-day volunteer effort. All entrance fees are suspended for the day. However, that does not include parks such as the Great Smoky Mountains, Yellowstone, and Yosemite. Those offering free admission are national battlefields, national historical sites, national monuments, national seashores, and national preserves. 

Although most National Park Service sites are free all year round, only 108 charge a fee. Among those that charge visitors are Arches, Rocky Mountain, and Shenandoah. But there is one catch for the free admission. “The entrance fee waiver for fee-free days does not cover amenity or user fees for activities such as camping, boat launches, transportation or special tours.”

Along with the national parks offering free admission, the White House issued a proclamation for National Public Lands Day. “On National Public Lands Day, we give thanks for the precious public lands that are the birthright of every American and at the heart of our national pride. From national parks to monuments, conservation areas, wildlife refuges, forests, grasslands, marine sanctuaries, reservoirs, and lakes — these lands provide endless opportunities for adventure, education, and respite.”

The White House also states that national parks sustain the outdoor recreation industry and strengthens the U.S. economy. “They protect biodiversity, help mitigate climate change, and make communities more resilient to extreme weather events and natural disasters.  On this day, we acknowledge our responsibility to make our public lands accessible to all Americans and recommit ourselves to conserving these spaces for generations to come.”

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