Male park ranger smiling because he is a proper distance away from a groundhog who is grazing on green grass.
Be safe and respect wildlife at the same time by keeping a safe distance.

NPS Photo

Safety Guidelines

General Guidelines:

  • Emergency Phone: 911
  • Be careful while walking around the Great Falls.
  • Guard your valuables and lock your car.
  • Be aware of dangerous weather conditions. In the wintertime, the river water above and below the Falls may freeze over. The water will continue to flow underneath the ice, and this ice is thin and dangerous. Snow covered ice may look like solid land. Please stay on the walking out for icy surfaces, and stay on designated walking paths. If the weather worsens, the City of Paterson may close the park without advanced notice and the park will post alerts as soon as we are notified.
  • Check for ticks. Wear long pants and use insect repellant.
  • Watch out for poisonous plants such as poison ivy. Know how to identify it.
  • The park is located in a busy urban area. Drive safely, wear your seatbelt at all times, and watch for pedestrians.
  • Please be aware of traffic use crosswalks, and pay attention as you cross.

When attending a program, please be prepared:

  • Dress for the weather. Our programs are outdoors and given in rain or shine.
  • Bring water and snacks.
  • Watch for uneven footing on sidewalks and the unpaved trail through Upper Raceway Park. Wear comfortable walking shoes.
  • Parts of the park are located in woodland areas. In the spring/summer bees will be present. If you are allergic, please bring your epinephrine auto injector.
A Message Regarding Wildlife - Keep Wildlife Wild

Though it may look as if our "cute and cuddly" wildlife could use a handout-don't be fooled. There is plenty of natural food for them at the park, and they know where to find it. It may seem as though feeding them will make their lives easier, it actually does not. There are many reasons the quote, "A fed animal is a dead animal" is true. When animals are taught that humans can be trusted, they tend to approach humans and rely more on human food, which to them is akin to eating junk food. Fed wildlife will gnaw through backpacks, purses, and jackets, and will rifle through garbage pails looking for the junk food they crave. Not only is this a nuisance for humans, it hurts the animals as feeding on this does not provide them with the nutrients they need. Additionally, tame animals may act as if they want to be pet so they will be fed. Again, don't be fooled. Some of these animals, notably mice, chipmunks, squirrels, and groundhogs could be carriers of disease such as bubonic plague. These tamer animals also will lose their fear of people and have been known to bite humans in order to get at the snacks. Finally tamer animals will approach vehicles and are more likely to be run over than their truly wild relatives. It seems like sharing your left over potato chips with a local groundhog, goose, or even a squirrel could help curb their hunger, but feeding wildlife is only going to hurt them and possibly you. Please respect all wildlife, by leaving them alone and wild.

Last updated: October 27, 2020

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72 McBride Avenue Extension
Paterson , NJ 07501



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