Hackensack River Canoe & Kayak Club

Palisades - 100,000 acres in 100 years
by Bob Binnewies


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I finally read this gem of a book received as a Christmas present (2001) - I savored every page.

I still haven't accepted that Binnewies is no longer PIPC executive director. I remember so clearly working with him as a volunteer, it seems like only a few years ago, assembling picnic tables at Tallman Mountain State Park when he first joined PIPC.

He has done an excellent job on this history of the Palisades Interstate Park Commission - a story more exciting than I imagined. A work of fiction could not have been written with more twists and turns.

I would have perhaps preferred more detail on the earlier days of the PIPC and less minutiae of the recent Sterling Forest battle, but then again, I understand that is right when he joined PIPC and is the era he knows best.

I had always been aware of how much families such as the Harrimans and Perkins have done for Bear Mountain & Harriman state parks, and of the generosity of the Rockefeller family in general...But I had no idea how extensive the Rockefeller's generosity was regarding these parks. What that fine family contributed is simply amazing! The way John D. Jr. secretly bought up most of the land atop the Palisades for the future construction of the parkway, then later donated it all to the PIPC, still takes my breath away.

On the other hand, I was disappointed to learn (actually, I suspected as much over the years) that the Harriman family owned most of the area that came to be known as Sterling Forest. 'Tis a shame that the land wasn't made parkland generations ago.

A wonderful read that you won't be able to put down, Palisades is a book that just can't be missed.

Contributed by HRCKC member George S.