The Palisades Interstate Park system trace their roots to 1900, when the governors of New York and New Jersey established the Palisades Interstate Park Commission to protect the sheer cliffs that rise 400 to 800 feet along the west bank of the lower Hudson. At the time quarrymen were blasting away the cliffs and barging the rock to New York City to construct streets, docks and foundations.
The scenic desecration alarmed several landowners, including J. Pierpont Morgan and John D. Rockefeller, Sr. Under the leadership of George W. Perkins, Sr., the Commission, with the support of the Harriman and Perkins families, was able to assemble Bear Mountain and Harriman parks and establish group camps and outdoor nature education programs for local and inner city children.
Over the years the Commission led grassroots efforts to protect Storm King Mountain, Tallman Mountain, Sterling Forest, Minnewaska, and other sites from development. Today, the Commission continues to conserve open space and to protect natural and historic resources along the Palisades for their intrinsic value and enjoyment by the public.