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Palisades Interstate Park Commission facts for kids

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Palisades Interstate Park
Location Fort Lee, New Jersey northward to Palisades, New York
Built 1900
NRHP reference No. 66000890
Quick facts for kids
Significant dates
Added to NRHP October 15, 1966
Designated NHL January 12, 1965

Palisades Interstate Park and its governing body, the Palisades Interstate Park Commission, was formed under an interstate compact in 1900 by governors Theodore Roosevelt of New York and Foster M. Voorhees of New Jersey in response to the destruction of the Palisades by quarry operators in the late 19th century. The Palisades are the cliffs on the west bank of the Hudson River across from and continuing north of Manhattan Island. The commission consists of ten commissioners, five appointed by each governor, who serve staggered five-year terms.


In 1900, George W. Perkins was appointed chairman of the newly formed commission by governor Roosevelt. He hired Major William A. Welch as assistant engineer, and in 1914 named him chief engineer and general manager. Under Welch's leadership, the Palisades Interstate Park grew from the initial 10,000-acre (40 km2) Bear Mountain State Park to the more than 40,000-acre (160 km2) Harriman State Park. By 1919 nearly a million people a year were coming to the park.

When work started on the park there were no existing models or precedents for an endeavor of its nature and scope. Welch organized a massive reforestation program, built 23 new lakes, 100 miles (160 km) of scenic drives and 103 children's camps, where 65,000 urban children enjoyed the outdoors each summer. He helped found the Palisades Interstate Park Trail Conference, which later became the New York–New Jersey Trail Conference, and he served as chairman of the Appalachian Trail Conference.

The Palisades Interstate Park was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1965. The designated area includes the Palisades Park in New Jersey, the Palisades Park in New York State, and the Tallman Mountain State Park in New York State.

Current scope

2013-05-05 14 50 42 View from the southwest of the Women's Federation Monument in Palisades Interstate Park
Monument in the park

The Palisades park system has been expanded over the years to include 19 state parks and nine historic sites, covering over 100,000 acres (400 km2) along more than 20 miles (32 km) of Hudson River shoreline and beyond. The commission also oversees and operates the Palisades Interstate Parkway, built between 1947 and 1958.

State parks


Historic sites


Other sources

  • Myles, William J., Harriman Trails, A Guide and History, The New York-New Jersey Trail Conference, New York, N.Y., 1999.

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