Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation

Empire Pass - FAQ

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Is it too late to buy an Empire Pass?

For convenience Empire Passes are sold year-round.

When does the Empire Pass expire?

Empire Pass Decals expire March 31st of the following year or as printed on the decal. Empire Pass Cards expire December 31st of the final year for which they were purchased. Lifetime Empire Passes do not expire.

What is the difference between the Empire Pass Decal and the Empire Pass Card?

The new Empire Pass Card can be easily shared within a family as long as the Card is in the vehicle. The Decal limits use to only the one vehicle to which it is affixed.

In addition to being usable at traditional entrance booths, the Empire Pass Card will also be usable at facilities with automated entrances.

Tinted vehicle owners will not have a problem with their Empire Pass Card being visible at the park.

Leased vehicles drivers will not need to replace their Empire Pass Card when exchanging vehicles.

Drivers selling vehicles will not have to replace their Empire Pass Card.

How many Empire Pass cards will I receive with one annual Empire Pass Card purchase?

Since the Empire Pass Card is shareable among the family, one card will be issued for each purchase. If additional cards are needed, they must be purchased at full price.

Can I use the Empire Pass Card to gain facility entrance for multiple vehicles at the same time?

The Empire Pass is usable for one vehicle entrance fee at a time. It cannot be used for other vehicles entering the park with that vehicle/shortly after that vehicle has entered.

I want to attach my Empire Pass Card to a lanyard/keychain/etc. Can I puncture a hole in the Empire Pass Card?

Do not puncture a hole in the Empire Pass Card. Puncturing a hole will destroy the technology inside of the card, and the card will become unusable. Damaged cards are subject to a $40 replacement fee.

Will the Empire Pass Decal still be available for purchase?

Yes, the Decal is still available.

Is the 2017 Empire Pass multi-year price that was advertised through an electronic reminder still being honored?

The 2017 Empire Pass multi-year price was advertised when the Empire Pass Decal was an option. That option is no longer available for purchase and has been replaced by the Empire Pass card which has a different price.

Can I upgrade my current Empire Pass Decal that I purchased to an Empire Pass Card?

Return the current decal (intact or scrapings) with the fee difference ($15) between the annual Card and the annual Decal to your nearest state park or park regional office or send a written refund upgrade request by mail to Empire Pass, State Parks, Albany, NY 12238.

Can multiple previously purchased 2017 Empire Pass Decals be returned for a 2017 Empire Pass Card?

There is no option to upgrade multiple Empire Pass Decals for one Empire Pass Card and receive a refund for the Decals.

Can an Empire Pass Card be downgraded to an Empire Pass Decal?

There is no option to downgrade from an Empire Pass Card to an Empire Pass Decal.

I received an Empire Pass Decal for my subsequent year multi-year purchase. Do I need to upgrade this decal to an Empire Pass Card?

Your Empire Pass Decal will be accepted through March 31, 2018. You will be issued an Empire Pass Card for any remaining years of your multi-year purchase.

I purchased a multi-year Empire Pass. When will I receive my Empire Pass for the following year(s)?

We are working on the technology to allow multi-year Empire Pass Cards to remain valid through their final year. Until then, you will receive an Annual Empire Pass Card in the fall of each year for which you paid.

How do I upgrade my current annual, 3-year or 5-year Empire Pass for a longer term Empire Pass?

Upgrades are available for purchase. Those who wish to upgrade after July 1st are advised to wait until the following year's Empire Pass is available for sale and upgrade/purchase at that time. Contact the Empire Pass office at 518-474-0458 for information.

How do I replace an Empire Pass Card or Decal that is lost, stolen, damaged, destroyed or affixed to a leased vehicle that is being returned or a vehicle that is being sold?

Empire Pass Card replacement:

If the Empire Pass Card is lost, stolen, damaged or destroyed, it is replaceable with a $40 fee payable by credit card, check, money order, or cash (in person only).

A replacement Card may be issued in person or by mail and requires the following:

  • A completed Empire Pass Replacement Request form or a letter requesting replacement and explaining the circumstances.
  • The damaged or destroyed pass or, if the pass was lost, verification of the original pass purchase.
  • If in the event the original pass is found after the purchase of a replacement, we will not refund the replacement fee.

Empire Pass Decal replacement:

If the Empire Pass Decal is stolen or damaged, there is no replacement fee. Lost or discarded Empire Pass Decals are not replaceable or refundable. An Empire Pass Decal may be upgraded to an Empire Pass card with a $15 fee.

A replacement Decal may be issued in person or by mail and requires the following:

  • A completed Empire Pass Replacement Request form or a letter requesting replacement and explaining the circumstances.
  • The Decal, or its fragments or scrapings (whenever possible, but always for a vehicle that has been sold or a leased vehicle that has been returned).
  • Proof of vehicle loss, sale or damage acceptable to the Agency such as a police, insurance or motor vehicle report, repair invoice whenever possible, but always when the Empire Pass or its fragments are not available.

Is my online order confirmation letter acceptable for admission?

No, the online order confirmation letter is not acceptable for admission. Only the Empire Pass Decal (must be permanently affixed), Empire Pass Card, or the NY Driver License or Non-Driver ID with the Lifetime Empire Pass icon will provide the Empire Pass vehicle entry.

How do I use the Empire Pass with a motorcycle or boat?

Free transparent plastic covers enabling affixing of the Empire Pass Decal to the body of the motorcycle or boat are available upon request by calling 518-474-0458 during ordinary weekday business hours. Alternatively, you may upgrade to an Empire Pass Card which will be more convenient. It will need to be presented when a vehicle use fee is required, just as with other passenger (non-commercially plated) vehicles.

What if I own a pick-up truck with commercial plates?

The Empire Pass card and decal is usable for all motor vehicles except those used in the business of transporting passengers for hire including public or private buses, shuttles, taxis, limousines, or other livery vehicles.

While a vehicle with commercial plates such as a pick-up truck are permitted to purchase the card or decal, keep in mind, commercial vehicles are generally prohibited on parkways in the State Parks system. Use of the card or decal to enter a facility does not waive these restrictions on commercial vehicles from driving on parkways. Contact the appropriate regional office for information on parkway restrictions.

How do I use the Empire Pass Card at facilities with automated pay stations?

Most automated pay stations will have posted instructions.

I have tinted windows; can I put the Empire Pass Decal on my windshield?

No, NYS Motor Vehicle Law prevents the Empire Pass Decal from being affixed to the windshield. The Empire Pass Decal can be seen through factory tint. If you have after-market tint, you may choose to scrape off a portion of the tint the size of the Decal and put your Decal in that place. Alternatively, you may upgrade to an Empire Pass Card which will be more convenient.

Do you offer a further discount for Empire Pass volume sales?

For the Empire Pass Card, a discount of $4 per card will automatically be applied to the purchase of 25 or more. Orders of 50 or more will be discounted by $8 per card and orders of 100 or more will be discounted by $12 per card. For the Empire Pass Decal, a discount of $3 per Empire Pass Decal will automatically be applied to the purchase of 25 or more; with orders of 50 or more discounted by $6 per decal and orders of 100 or more discounted by $10 per decal.

Can I use the Empire Pass for special events, camping or overnight parking?

The Empire Pass does not guarantee vehicle entry into the park when special events occur and are operated by other organizations. It excludes camping, overnight parking, golf, museum or historic site admission and other special activity fees.

Is this a 4x4 or fishing permit?

No, 4x4 and fishing permits are exclusive to the Long Island Region. Information is available at Long Island Permits or at 631-669-1000 ext. 223 during ordinary business hours.

What happens when I purchase the Empire Pass as a gift?

The recipient of an Empire Pass as a gift should call 518-474-0458 requesting that the Empire Pass information be changed to him/her. This will allow us to maintain accurate records should the pass need to be replaced.

Can someone else use my Lifetime Empire Pass?

Since the Lifetime Empire Pass is an icon on an individual's Driver License or Non-Drive ID, it can only be used by that individual. That person need not be the driver, but must be present in the vehicle.

What happens to my Lifetime Empire Pass if I move out of state?

Since you may legally only possess one valid driver license, when your New York State Driver License is relinquished to get your new state's Driver License, you may apply through the NYS Dept. of Motor Vehicles for a New York State Non-Driver Identification Card on which your Lifetime Empire Pass will appear.