Early morning view along the Rio Grande. (Photo courtesy of Getty.)

More than 400,000 Texas students could enter state parks for free thanks to a civic-minded 9-year-old at Mockingbird Elementary.

Lily Kay liked visiting free federal parks so much that she wrote GOP Rep. Morgan Meyer and asked him to file legislation that would allow Texas fifth-graders to enter state parks for free, according to the Dallas Morning News.

A House panel listened to her testimony Tuesday. The proposal is still pending.

More than 417,000 Texas fifth-graders in public and private schools, as well as 11-year-olds who are home schooled, could benefit. Anyone in the vehicle with the students could also enter the parks for free, according to the legislation.

The proposed program is modeled after the federal Every Kid in a Park initiative, which allows fourth-graders who enroll to enter national parks at no charge. Last year, Lily and her family visited national parks in Arizona and Utah through the initiative, and the dual-language student began wondering if something similar existed in Texas, the Morning News reported.

Seniors and other Texans with disabilities are already eligible for discounts at state parks. Providing students and their families with free entry would not result in additional state costs, the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department told the Morning News.

Lily said she proposed applying the Texas program to fifth-graders because they learn state history the year before.

“This way, we can see the things we learned about the previous year, like the battlefield of Goliad,” Lily told the Morning News.


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