Patterson Great Falls National Historical Park Dedicated
U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez, D-N.J., joined Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, U.S. Sen. Frank Lautenberg, D-N.J., Congressman Bill Pascrell Jr. and National Park Service Director Jon Jarvis on Monday (Nov. 7) at Paterson Great Falls National Historical Park for a signing ceremony to officially dedicate the site as the United States’ 397th national park.
“I’m incredibly proud, as a New Jerseyan and as the son of immigrants, to witness today’s declaration of Paterson Great Falls as a National Historic Park,” said Menendez, who fought to get the legislation authorizing the new park approved by the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, The Paramus Post reported. “From the Great Falls, through the raceways and waterwheels along the Passaic, flowed the blood, sweat, and tears of the men and women who powered the industrial revolution and made this nation great. The Park’s history is now part of the story of America.”
Home to one of the nation’s largest and most spectacular waterfalls, Great Falls was harnessed to power new industries and played a key role in shaping the American Industrial Revolution and building the U.S. economy.
As a member of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, Menendez secured passage of the authorizing legislation which allowed the bill to dedicate the site as a national park to pass through the Senate. Menendez fought skeptics who felt that Paterson’s urban setting did not qualify Great Falls as a national park.
“This has been a long and often difficult fight. Everyone here had a role to play, and mine was to get the bill passed in the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee,” Menendez noted. “Frankly, it was not easy because the Park Service, at the time, and several western senators were skeptical of an urban historical park like Great Falls. But over the course of several months, I made the case: Great Falls is a different national park, an urban park that may not fit the mold of Yellowstone and Yosemite, but just because it’s an urban setting doesn’t make it any less a representation of the richness of this nation, no less a national treasure.”