Nation's newest national historic park in NJ

November 7, 2011 - 1:50 PM

PATERSON, N.J. (AP) — The 77-foot Great Falls in downtown Paterson has become America's 397th national park.

It was given that designation Monday in a ceremony attended by New Jersey officials, local schoolchildren, U.S. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar and the head of the National Park Service.

The national park designation makes the 35-acre site eligible for federal funds.

The Great Falls is second only to Niagara Falls in water volume east of the Mississippi River.

The falls once provided power that helped launch the American Industrial Revolution. It also has appeared in a scene in "The Sopranos."

Paterson officials hope the designation will help revitalize the city and make it a tourist destination.