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Gov. Andrew Cuomo: State parks free for eligible students

More of New York State’s public school students from low-income areas will not have to pay to enjoy state parks and historic sites, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said Tuesday in announcing the doubling of last year’s grant program to $1 million.

The state program is open to all students from kindergarten to 12th grade.

The state also will waive fees for fourth-graders and their families, if they all travel in the same vehicle and they received free passes under a separate five-year program President Barack Obama announced in 2015 for national parks.

“Building upon our past success, we will continue to introduce more New York youth to the world-class parks in their own backyards and help connect the next generation of environmental stewards to the great outdoors,” Cuomo said in a statement.

State parks on Long Island are eligible for the program, including Jones Beach.

In 2016, almost 30,000 public school students made nearly 750 trips to state parks and historic sites, and Department of Environmental Conservation properties, the governor said.

The state grants are handed out on a first-come, first-serve basis.

After taking field trips, schools, youth bureaus and after- school programs are reimbursed for transportation, program fees, entry fees and/or pavilion fees.

The maximum grant is $750, and each class is eligible for one per academic year. For more information, visit

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