Paterson Great Falls: Waterfall Wednesday

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On a sunny day, you can often find a rainbow over the rear section of Paterson Great Falls National Park.

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I was visiting the park for the Native American Heritage celebration and walked over the bridge to this section. We’d had a downpour the night before so there was a lot of water cascading and creating mist. The mist acts as a prism and creates the rainbow.

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Scroll down for a video clip.

Paterson Great Falls posts:

Location: 72 McBride Avenue Extension, Paterson, NJ

Designation: National Historical Park

Date designated or established: 11/7/2011

Date of my visit: 11/4/2018

 

Paterson Great Falls: Overlook Park

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Welcome back to National Parks & other public lands with T! If you are seeing this on Twitter or Facebook, please visit the blog to see all of the photos and read the story by clicking the link.

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When I visited Paterson Great Falls for the Native American Heritage celebration, it was held in the brand-new Overlook Park. The Overlook’s main feature is an amphitheater facing the falls. The last time I’d been there, the area had been crumbling into the river with a chain link fence keeping people away from the edge (we’d had to find an opening to poke our lenses through to get a shot.)

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Besides the amphitheater,  a new stairway connecting the Overlook section with Mary Ellen Kramer Park was added. Previously, we’d had to exit the park, walk around the block and renter to cross the bridge to the far side of the falls. Much-needed improvements were also made to the parking area. Parking is still limited when there is an event happening…there were a few cars waiting for me to leave so they could pounce on my spot in the afternoon.

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Funds for the $2.8 million renovation came from New Jersey’s Green Acres fund, the NPS centennial grant, the county’s Open Space fund, the City of Paterson and Rutgers University.  The park has big plans for future improvements, including a Great Lawn on the Allied Textile Printing site and a fancy new visitor center which they are hoping to build in time for Great Fall’s 10th anniversary in 2021.

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Scroll down for a video clip of the falls taken from Overlook Park.

Paterson Great Falls posts:

Location: 72 McBride Avenue Extension, Paterson, NJ

Designation: National Historical Park

Date designated or established: 11/7/2011

Date of my visit: 11/4/2018

 

Paterson Great Falls Native Heritage Celebration

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Welcome back to National Parks & other public lands with T! If you are seeing this on Twitter or Facebook, please visit the blog to see all of the photos and read the story by clicking the link.

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In November, we celebrate Thanksgiving here in the USA…a time to gather with family and give thanks for all of our blessings. But it is also an observance of the first Thanksgiving, when the Native Americans and Pilgrims feasted together after the Native Americans helped the new settlers survive their first difficult year.

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For Native American Heritage Month, Paterson Great Falls National Historic Park hosted a celebration, with performances by the Silver Cloud Dancers and a tour of the Lenape exhibit at the Paterson Museum. You can see my earlier post on Paterson Great Falls by clicking here.

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The Lenape Nation, called Lenapehoking, included Paterson (and all of New Jersey, parts of New York, PA and Delaware), but the Lenape did not live around the falls. They did fish here in the Passaic River.

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The Silver Cloud Dancers are an inter-tribal group, with singers, drummers and dancers. They performed both traditional and contemporary dances, while providing insight into the history of the pieces.

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I attended the morning show and the timing was just right for the sun to create a rainbow in the mist under the bridge, serving as a spectacular backdrop.

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The dancers performed a traditional men’s dance, traditional women’s dance and then the more contemporary, ‘fancier’ versions of each.

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One of the vocalists led a singalong, teaching us the words to a simple song.

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Here is a short video of the traditional men’s dance. This is a warrior’s victory dance.

Location: 72 McBride Avenue Extension, Paterson, NJ

Designation: National Historical Park

Date designated or established: 11/7/2011

Date of my visit: 11/4/2018

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Paterson Great Falls NHP

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Lock on the pedestrian bridge over the river to the falls observation area.

Location: 65 McBride Avenue Extension, Paterson, NJ

Designation: National Historical Park

Date NPS designation declared: 11/07/2011

Date of my visit: 2/4/2017

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February 2017 was the second time I visited this park since it was designated a National Historical Park. Those of us who live in the area have always heard there were some big waterfalls nearby in the midst of a scary neighborhood, but were never really inclined to go find them. Now, with the presence of the National Park Service, there are plenty of visitors in and around the falls and at least by the light of day, it seems as safe as any other city. With an amazing waterfall right in the middle of it. The only other comparable place I can recall seeing the incongruity of nature’s raw power and beauty next to apartment buildings and abandoned warehouses is Sioux Falls, SD or maybe Willamette Falls in Oregon City.

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View of abandoned factories from the Raceway Trail

Once the NPS built a welcome center, I called ahead, found out when there would be a tour and my husband and I made the short drive to see the new park. That tour was led by Ernie, a Paterson native and retired Marine. His enthusiasm for the city of Paterson and its historical significance was catching. The Industrial Revolution in America sprang up here, around the power of the Great Falls.  After the tour, Ernie showed me the best place to set up my tripod for an iconic shot of the falls. At the time, Ernie was a volunteer. Now, I believe he is a ranger.

Fast forward to the beginning of 2017. I arranged a group tour for my Instagram/Photo meet-up group with volunteer Terry. Terry is another local with a passion for Paterson’s history. He led us on a walk on the raceway trail, winding around some industrial revolution era factories and then back up to the falls. Also a photography hobbyist, Terry timed our arrival at the falls with the midday sun which created a rainbow over the falls.

The park has received a grant for the NPS 100 year anniversary fund to restore some other areas (I think maybe by the riverbank) to make the experience even better. I can’t wait to see what they do with it.

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Rainbow in the mist over the frozen falls