Nation’s Newest National Historic Park in Paterson
Paterson's majestic Great Falls have become America's 397th national park.
U.S. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, the head of the National Park Service and New Jersey's congressional delegation were on hand Monday to sign the proclamation into law.
The national park designation makes the 35-acre site eligible for federal funds.
The 77-foot waterfall in downtown Paterson is second only to Niagara Falls in terms of water volume east of the Mississippi River.
In a ceremony packed with schoolchildren, officials spoke of the waterfall being a rare national park that combines both natural beauty and an important American historical site. The falls once provided power that helped launch the American Industrial Revolution.
Paterson officials hope the designation will help revitalize the city and make it a tourist destination.