National Park Paterson, NJ?





... President Obama signed legislation establishing a national park in, of all places, Paterson, N.J., a faded industrial town that is one of the poorest in the nation.

This was no small triumph for Paterson; for its congressman and former mayor, Bill Pascrell Jr.; and for one Leonard Zax, a Paterson native and lawyer who a few years back took on the role of designated pain in the butt to push this thing forward.

Reporters deal with people like him all the time, many of them invested in some cause that is unlikely to see the light of day. That definitely seemed the case with the proposed Paterson Great Falls National Historical Park, billed as a way to preserve Alexander Hamilton’s vision of an industrial America at the Great Falls of the Passaic River, where every day two billion gallons of water cascade 77 feet to the gorge below. In a draft report, officials said existing parks covered the themes proposed for Paterson. The Bush administration, for economic reasons, opposed adding national parks, and the idea, to the uninitiated, seemed more than a stretch.



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