This summer, with the SCIP program, I have gotten the chance to travel all across the northeast region. In just under a month we have visited nine different National Parks and met with countless individuals and youth groups. One of my favorite parks to visit was Paterson Great Falls in New Jersey. For those of you who do not know, Paterson Great Falls (PAGR) is one of the largest waterfalls in the country. Also it powered the city of Paterson’s industry during the dawn of industry. On November 7th of last year PAGR became the 397th National Park.
When we arrived at Patterson we were greeted by the Great Falls Youth Corps. They gave us an amazing tour of both Paterson Great Falls and the nearby Paterson Museum. Meeting with the Youth Corps. gave us a really unique opportunity to be given a tour of a park by a group of our peers, making for a refreshing change of pace. It was also interesting to hear about all of the different work they did. Not only did the Paterson Falls youth do interpretation, but they also did landscape maintenance and some museum work. I thought this was great because all three of those skills can be used at almost any National Park, setting these teens up with a great future in the Park Service.
We also had the chance to meet with Darren Boch, the superintendent of PAGR and got to see some of the great work he has been doing. Superintendent Boch was actually the only non youth corps employee at PAGR. He went into detail about the challenges that went into creating a new park, such as neighborhood outreach, hiring staff and even ordering furniture for the office. It was great to see everything superintendent Boch had planned for the site and I think it would be a great return trip to come back in a couple of years and see what has been implemented.