Cover image for Palisades : 100,000 acres in 100 years
Palisades : 100,000 acres in 100 years
Binnewies, Robert O.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Fordham University Press and Palisades Interstate Park Commission, [2001]

Physical Description:
xv, 406 pages : illustrations, maps ; 26 cm.

Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
SB482.N5 B56 2001 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



Marking the centennial of the Palisades Interstate Park Commission, Palisades: 100,000 Acres in 100 Years celebrates the unique series of parklands, many within sight of the Empire State Building, that is the Palisades Interstate Park. Beginning with the efforts of Elizabeth Vermilye of the New Jersey Federation of Women's Clubs, who enlisted President Theodore Roosevelt's support to stop the blasting and quarrying of Palisades rock, this book traces the story of the famous- including J.P. Morgan, the Rockefellers, and the Harrimans- and not-so-famous men and women whose donations of time and money led to the preservation of New York and New Jersey's most scenic and historic lands.

Despite the involvement of men of great wealth and fame from its earliest beginnings, the Palisades Interstate Park Commission faced an early and ongiong struggle to arrange financial support from both the New York and New Jersey state governments for a park that would cross state lines. The conflicts between developers and conservationists, industrialists and wilderness enthusiasts, with their opposing views regarding the uses of natural resources, required the commissioners of the PIPC to become skilled negotiators, assiduous fundraisers, and savvy participants in the political process.

The efforts to create the Palisades Interstate Park was prodigious, requiring more than one thousand real-estate transactions to establish Sterling Forest, to save Storm King Mountain, to preserve Lake Minnewaska, to protect Stony Point Battlefield and Washington's Headquarters, to open Bear Mountain and Harriman State Parks, and to add the other sixteen parks to the Palisades Interstate Park System. The results have been astonishing: an inn and restauant, 350 miles of hiking trails, four large public beaches, 12 swimming pools, two golf courses, 42 miles of bike trails, ten sewage treatment plants, two police forces and a court, highways, parkways, and bridges all requiring almost one thousand employes in the summer season.

Because of the PIPC, many millions of people have had the opportunity to enjoy the special beauty of the Palisades. Conservationists, developers, citizen's groups, and politicians from throughout the country have been able to observe cooperation in action, learning from the PIPC the importance of preserving open space within a densely populated area.

Author Notes

Robert O. Binnewies was Executive Director of the Palisade Interstate Park Commission throughout the 1990s. During a conservation career that spanned nearly 40 years, he also served as Superintendent of Yosemite National Park, Vice President of the National Audubon Society, and Executive Director of the Maine Coast Heritage Trust.

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Choice Review

Binnewies, former executive director of the Palisades Interstate Park Commission (PIPC), tells the story of the fight to protect a unique 100,000-acre interstate system of parks and open spaces straddling the border between New York and New Jersey, most within sight of New York City. Beginning more than a century ago with efforts by the New Jersey Federation of Women's Clubs to stop the blasting and quarrying of the Palisades cliffs across the Hudson River from Manhattan, there have been many battles between developers and conservationists, industrialists and wilderness enthusiasts. Players included supporters like J.P. Morgan, the Rockefeller and Harriman families, and not-so-famous men and women whose pioneering efforts helped shape the modern park conservation movement. The conservation experiments of the PIPC influenced the creation and management direction of state park systems across the nation, lent momentum to creation of the National Park Service, and catalyzed the emergence of nongovernmental organizations focused on open-space conservation. Recommended for lower- and upper-division undergraduates through practitioners as well as library collections in environmental history, recreation, and parks and protected areas. S. Hollenhorst University of Idaho

Table of Contents

Laurance S. and David RockefellerCarol Ash and Barnabas McHenry
Greetingp. ix
Forewordp. xi
Acknowledgmentsp. xv
1 Boss Blasterp. 1
2 The Commissionp. 5
3 Upriverp. 22
4 Harrimanp. 38
5 Legend and Warp. 57
6 Welchp. 69
7 Bear Mountainp. 80
8 Perkinsp. 100
9 Jolliffep. 124
10 Trail and Bridgep. 141
11 Uncle Benniep. 157
12 Black Thursdayp. 171
13 The Compactp. 189
14 The Palisades Parkwayp. 213
15 Storm Kingp. 239
16 Minnewaskap. 269
17 Sterling Forestp. 304
18 Looking Aheadp. 355
Appendix A Palisades Interstate Park Commission Parks and Historic Sitesp. 357
Appendix B Commissioners of the Palisades Interstate Park Commissionp. 360
Appendix C The Hudson River Valley Contingent for the Preservation of Sterling Forestp. 362
Sourcesp. 365
Indexp. 397