44° Good Morning
44° Good Morning

State park Empire Pass is losing the decal requirement, officials say

Park-loving New Yorkers will no longer have to clutter car windows with decals if they buy Empire Passes.

New York State is ending that requirement for Empire Pass holders, who gain unlimited daily admission to more than 250 state parks, historic sites, arboretums, trails and boat launches, the parks department said in a statement on Tuesday — the same day the Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation began its annual discount sale for one-year passes.

New Yorkers will just need a wallet-sized card; scrapping the decals will allow them to take any vehicle they wish, said Randy Simons, a parks spokesman, in an email.

And any family member, including caregivers, can use the passes, which have matrix bar codes and embedded chips, the parks department said.

From now until the sale ends on March 31, the one-year Empire Pass card will cost $65, down from $80, it said.

No discounts are offered for the $205 three-year pass, the $320 five-year pass, and the $750 lifetime pass, said Dan Keefe, another park spokesman. The lifetime pass includes an icon on driver’s licenses.

Empire Passes also grant entry to Department of Environmental Conservation forest preserves, the parks department said.

The new passes can be bought online at, which also has more information on discounts for senior citizens, veterans, and members of the military and their families. The new passes will not be sold at parks until January.

State & Region