It was good news for the troubled urban center of Paterson, New Jersey, when U.S. President Barack Obama signed legislation in March 2009 authorizing Paterson-Great Falls National Historical Park, centered on the city's 77-foot-tall (24-meter-tall) waterfall.
Paterson (map) was founded by U.S. Treasury Secretary Alexander Hamilton in the 1790s as a manufacturing city based on water power. Local factories turned out weapons, locomotives, silk, and other products before economic problems closed most plants.
The striking waterfall has been part of the Great Falls of Paterson-Garrett Mountain National Natural Landmark since 1967. The area's inclusion in the National Park System should bring better tourism amenities, stronger protections, and increased visitation.
Exactly when that will happen is hard to say, however, given the complexities of transferring the falls' administrative status from national landmark to national park.