Despite the coronavirus pandemic, the Great Falls National Historical Park in Paterson saw record number of visitors in 2020, according to National Park Service data.
Great Falls saw 339,768 visitors in 2020, up 22 percent from the previous year.
“I think our visitation increased because our state instituted some of the more stringent pandemic lockdown measures, and so when parks re-opened following a short closure I believe they served as a respite for people looking to do something, anything, to get out of their homes and office,” said Darren Boch, superintendent of the Great Falls National Historical Park.
The park, an oasis in middle of New Jersey’s third most populous city, features a 77 feet high waterfall. Roughly 2 billion gallons of water rushes over it daily, making it the second biggest waterfall east of the Mississippi River behind the Niagara Falls.
The Great Falls is also the birthplace of the American Industrial Revolution.
For the first time, the Great Falls also touched an important milestone: 1 million visitors. Since 2016, the federal government recorded 1.24 million visitors to the Great Falls.
“Surpassing 1 million visitors in 5 years is representative of the park becoming more and more of a destination for locals and out-of-towners alike. And going forward, as projects such as a new Visitor Center, new Quarry Lawn park and rehabilitated Hinchliffe Stadium go from the drawing board to construction, we fully expect to sustain and grow our visitation,” said Boch.
Boch said visitor numbers dropped in 2018 because of construction at Overlook Park. The park which serves as the main parking lot for the Great Falls was closed because of construction that year.
Work on restoring the historic Hinchliffe Stadium, a $93.77 million project, is expected to begin next month, according to officials.
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