State Park History

Saving A National Treasure

Led by renowned landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted, a group of environmentalists organized in the late 1800s to protect the land surrounding the American side of Niagara Falls from commercial and industrial exploitation. In 1885, New York State signed the Niagara Appropriations Bill into law, creating what is now Niagara Falls State Park.


The Olmsted-designed park became America’s first state park, laying out a place of natural beauty where “the masses could be renewed.” Today this scenic reserve still provides visitors with a stunning environment worthy of the awe-inspiring natural wonder of Niagara Falls.


Each year, Niagara Falls State Park greets millions of visitors headed for the popular Maid of the Mist boat ride or Cave of the Winds tour. Other nearby attractions include the Aquarium of Niagara and the Niagara Gorge Discovery Center.


Goat Island can be reached by car or by foot. There, a peaceful path through native vegetation reveals views of the Niagara River, another path leads to Three Sisters Islands and a walk to Terrapin Point features a breathtaking view of Horseshoe Falls. Most footpaths are handicapped-accessible and parking is plentiful on both the mainland and Goat Island.