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Great Outdoors

The National Parks Of New Jersey Offer History And Beauty

Kevin Jarrett

New Jersey, the Garden State, has a rich history and boundless natural wonders. 

New Jersey is home to various histories in our countries’ collective memory. Some may think of wiseguys and pine barrens, and others remember Bruce Springsteen and the “Big Man” Clarence Clemons shimmying across the stage at The Meadowlands. Atlantic City houses the longest boardwalk in the world, while the Garden State is home to the most diners. But, did you know that more Revolutionary War battles were fought in New Jersey than any other state?

It may surprise many to learn about the wealth of historical landmarks and natural wonders found inside the borders of the third state to ratify the Constitution. From its rich native legacy to its pivotal role in forming a young country during its fight for Independence, New Jersey has been on the front lines of a cultural heritage that informs many walks of American life.

When visiting the land of Liberty and Prosperity, don’t forget to check out these national treasures: 

Ellis Island National Monument:

It has been said many times that to tell a story, one must start at the beginning, and no such beginning to any story is richer than Ellis Island is to the fabric of the American tale. Some 12 million immigrants landed on the Island in search of a better life from 1892 to 1954.

While Ellis Island and Lady Liberty are often associated with New York City and its harbor, the national monument that preserves its legacy is shared by the states of New York and New Jersey. An imperative to visit for all Americans, this national park protects one of the nation’s most recognizable and cherished symbols, and the stories and lives the Statue of Liberty, and the port at Ellis Island represent. This is a true can’t-miss destination for all seeking to understand what “the land of opportunity” truly means.

New Jersey Pinelands National Reserve: Rolling forests and open, marshy grasslands spread across the Garden State. New Jersey offers an abundance of unique and ecologically important natural landscapes like this national reserve (the country’s first established in 1978 by an act of congress) in the Southeastern part of the state.

The reserve includes parts of seven New Jersey counties and contains about 1.1 million acres of farms, forests, and wetlands.

This National Park accounts for over 22% of New Jersey’s land area and is home to numerous species of rare plants and local animals. The nature lovers at heart will find a wealth of natural treasures to enjoy in this incredible jewel of the Mid-Atlantic region!

Photo Courtesy NPS

Paterson Great Falls National Historic Park:  This area was first inhabited by the Lenni Lenape people and followed by Dutch settlers in the 1600s. It was then settled by the British, and established by the United States following the conclusion of the Revolutionary War.  

Paterson is home to America’s first planned industrial city. Centered around the great waterfalls of the Passaic River, it is here that American industry was founded. From humble beginnings in 1792, American ingenuity thrived and prospered. 

This National Park protects the rich history while offering a window into the past for those who want to know more about how the American economic empire began.

Photo Courtesy NPS
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