Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation

Empire Pass - FAQ

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Please be aware that operations may be impacted due to COVID-19, and capacity restrictions may be in place for the upcoming season. Please decide whether an Empire Pass is the right purchase for you and your family as all Empire Pass products are non-returnable and non-refundable after purchase.

Is it too late to buy an Empire Pass?

You can purchase an Empire Pass anytime throughout the season. There is not an option to pro-rate the cost of the pass. Regardless of when it is purchased, it expires on December 31st. Once purchased, all sales are final, and refunds are not allowed.

When does the Empire Pass Card expire?

Empire Pass Cards expire December 31st of the final year for which they were purchased.
Lifetime Empire Passes do not expire.

Where can the Empire Pass Card be used?

The pass can be used at most NY State Parks and Dept. of Environmental Conservation Facilities.

NYS Parks: https://parks.ny.gov/documents/admission/EmpirePassCardGuidelines.pdf

DEC Facilities: https://www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/9174.htmlLeaving New York State Parks

What is the benefit of having an Empire Pass Card?

  • The Empire Pass Card can be easily shared with friends and family as long as the physical card or digital copy in the wallet of the New York State Parks Explorer App is presented. If you do not have your card upon entry, you will have to pay the entrance fee, which is non-refundable.
  • In addition to being usable at traditional entrance booths, the Empire Pass Card is accepted at facilities with automated entrances.
For more information about the app, visit https://parks.ny.gov/explorer-app/.

What type of technology does the Empire Pass Card contain? Does it store any personal information?

The Empire Pass Card contains an embedded radio-frequency identification (RFID) chip. This technology allows the card to be scanned and accepted at facilities with automated pay stations and/or scanners used by staff. The RFID chip does not contain any personal information. It stores only the card's 6-digit serial number, and whether the card is in an active or inactive status.

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

One card will be issued for each purchase and can be shared with friends and family. The physical card or a digital copy can be stored in the wallet section of the New York State Parks Explorer App for use by others. For more information about the app, visit https://parks.ny.gov/explorer-app/.

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 (including motorcycles). It cannot be used for other vehicles entering the park shortly after the first vehicle has entered.

Is the Empire Pass renewable?

YES! Don't toss your Empire Pass card at the end of the season.
"GO GREEN! If you saved your Empire Pass card, you now have the option to renew and receive a discount! Offered Online Only. Click here and follow the instructions to Renew My Pass!"

Why should I renew my pass?

Savings and convenience! There is a renewal discount off the regular price of a 1, 3 or 5-Season Empire Pass Card. Also, you will no longer need to wait for the pass to be mailed to you or wait in line at the park. Renewals are only available online at https://shop.parks.ny.gov/.

The discount will be available all year long!

$15.00 discount11/17/2021 - 12/31/2021
$10.00 discount01/01/2022 - 03/31/2022
$5.00 discount04/01/2022 - End of the season

How do I renew my pass?

Renewals can be done online only. Please visit https://shop.parks.ny.gov/ or, from our website NYS PARKS - Empire Passport, find the "Renew My Pass" button. Enter your 6-digit Empire Pass card number (located at the bottom left of the card) and your email address. If you did not provide an email address at the time of purchase, or do not have one, you may also enter your pass number, last name and zip code. Follow the instructions for renewing and make your payment. Your pass will be active within 24-48 hours after purchase, so please plan ahead before visiting.

If I purchase a multi-season Empire Pass, will I receive a new card every year?

No, your multi-season card will be active until December 31st of the last year of your multi-season purchase. The expiration date of your pass can be found on your confirmation email or you may check online at Check Pass Expiration Date.

How do I know if my pass is due to expire?

Follow this link to check the expiration date of your pass. Check Pass Expiration Date

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 replacement fee.

How do I replace an Empire Pass Card that is lost, stolen, damaged, destroyed?

If the Empire Pass Card is lost, stolen, damaged or destroyed, it is replaceable with a $17.00 fee payable by credit card, check, money order, or cash (in person at a park office only). This fee is in place due to the technology of the card and the cost of replacing it. This fee cannot be waived.

Lost, damaged or stolen cards will be deactivated when the replacement card is issued.

A replacement may be ordered over the phone, by mail or issued in person at the facility. All require 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.
  • Note: If in the event the original pass is found after the purchase of a replacement, we will not refund the replacement fee. The original pass is deactivated and is no longer usable.

Is my online order confirmation letter acceptable for admission?

No, the online order confirmation letter is not acceptable for admission. Only the Empire Pass Card or digital copy in the New York State Parks Explorer App will be accepted to waive the entry fee. For renewals, card activation occurs 24-48 hours after purchase. Please purchase in advance of your park visit to ensure that your pass is valid. If your card is not valid, you will have to pay the entrance fee, which is non-refundable.

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

The Empire Pass will need to be presented when a vehicle use fee is required, just as with other passenger vehicles. Each boat or motorcycle must present their own pass upon entry.

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

The Empire Pass 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 pass, keep in mind, commercial vehicles are generally prohibited on parkways in the State Parks system. Use of the card 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?

The automated pay stations will have posted instructions.

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

Yes. For the 1-Season Empire Pass Card only, 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. Orders of 100 or more will be discounted by $10 per card. Orders of 250 or more will be discounted by $15 per card. Orders of 500 or more will be discounted by $20 per card. Renewal discounts cannot be combined with bulk rate discounts.

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. The Empire Pass does not guarantee parking when capacity limits have been met. Parking is available on a first-come, first-serve basis and does not allow for early entry prior to park hours.

Is this a 4x4 or fishing permit?

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

What happens when I purchase the Empire Pass or want to renew the Empire Pass as a gift?

There is no name printed on the Empire Pass so the recipient of the card can use it immediately. If they choose to reuse the card next season, they can renew online at https://shop.parks.ny.gov/ and provide the original information provided at the time of purchase. When completing their order, they will be able to change the information associated to the pass to their name and email address. This will allow us to maintain accurate records should the pass need to be replaced.

Can someone else use my Lifetime Empire Pass?

The Lifetime Empire Pass Card can be easily shared with friends and family as long as the physical card or digital copy in the wallet of the New York State Parks Explorer App is presented. If you do not have your card upon entry, you will have to pay the entrance fee, which is non-refundable.

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

You can still use your Lifetime Empire Pass to visit our NYS Parks. Please note: Since the NYS Dept. of Motor Vehicles will also mail a new copy of your license with a maple leaf icon on it showing your membership to parks, and 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 CardLeaving New York State Parks on which your Lifetime Empire Pass maple leaf icon will appear. The scannable pass must be presented at the park to waive the fee. Your driver's license cannot be accepted.

Do I have to be a NYS resident to purchase the Lifetime Empire Pass?

No, however, you must first obtain a NYS Non-Driver ID Card by visiting a NYS Dept. of Motor Vehicles office. For more information, please visit https://dmv.ny.gov/Leaving New York State Parks. The information from your New York State license or New York State non-driver ID card is required when purchasing the Lifetime Empire Pass. The Lifetime Empire Pass cannot be purchased from the NYS DMV. You must purchase the Lifetime Empire Pass online at https://shop.parks.ny.gov/

All Empire Pass card products are non-returnable and non-refundable after purchase.
For any other questions or concerns, you may call (518) 474-0458. Please be aware that we may still have limited staff and office hours due to COVID-19.
You can also contact us by email at: empirepassport@parks.ny.gov