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Preservation Efforts

Preservation Efforts: A Detailed History of Niagara Falls

Preservation Efforts: A Detailed History of Niagara Falls


Niagara Falls, one of the most iconic natural wonders of the world, has captivated visitors for centuries. Located on the border of the United States and Canada, the Falls consists of three magnificent waterfalls: Horseshoe Falls, American Falls, and Bridal Veil Falls. Due to its awe-inspiring beauty and ecological significance, preservation efforts for Niagara Falls were initiated decades ago to protect this natural treasure for future generations. This article provides a comprehensive historical account of the preservation efforts undertaken for Niagara Falls.

Early Conservation Movements

The earliest preservation efforts surrounding Niagara Falls can be traced back to the mid-19th century when concerns regarding industrialization and commercial ventures threatening the Falls began to arise. In 1856, the New York State Legislature enacted the “Act for the Preservation of the Scenery of the State of New York,” which aimed to prevent any unauthorized alteration or destruction of the natural beauty of Niagara Falls.

Following the example set by New York, the Canadian government introduced similar legislation in 1885, known as the “Niagara Falls Park Act.” This act established the Queen Victoria Niagara Falls Park, which became the first officially protected area around the Falls. The park was dedicated to preserving the scenic views and natural wonders of Niagara Falls.

Creation of National Parks

In 1887, the Niagara Reservation of New York, commonly referred to as the Niagara Falls State Park, was established as the first state park in the United States. This groundbreaking initiative protected not only the Falls but also the surrounding territory, ensuring that the natural environment would be safeguarded from any detrimental activities. The park’s creation laid the foundation for future conservation efforts.

On the Canadian side, the Niagara Parks Commission was established in 1887, with the goal of preserving and enhancing the natural and cultural heritage of the Niagara River Corridor. The commission took charge of maintaining and developing public parks, parkways, and other recreational areas surrounding the Falls, ensuring their preservation for generations to come.

International Agreement for Niagara Falls

In 1909, both the United States and Canada recognized the importance of joint conservation efforts and entered into the Boundary Waters Treaty. This treaty aimed to regulate the use and preservation of boundary waters and focused on Niagara Falls as a prime example of shared cooperation in environmental protection.

Under the treaty, both countries established the International Joint Commission (IJC), composed of representatives from the United States and Canada. The IJC managed projects that could potentially impact the natural environment surrounding the Falls. Their efforts were focused on balancing hydroelectric power generation, tourism, and preserving the natural beauty of Niagara Falls.

Modern Preservation Initiatives

In the 20th century, recognition of the delicate ecosystem surrounding Niagara Falls grew, further leading to enhanced preservation efforts. The establishment of the Niagara Falls National Heritage Area in 1986 marked a significant milestone. It aimed to interpret and preserve the natural, cultural, and historical resources of the region, encouraging sustainable development while ensuring the protection of the Falls and its surroundings.

Additionally, in 1996, the Niagara Greenway Plan was initiated to create a 13,000-acre network of interconnected parks, river access points, and trails along the Niagara River. This plan emphasized natural resource conservation, public access, and recreation, further bolstering preservation efforts.


The preservation efforts surrounding Niagara Falls have evolved significantly over time, reflecting the growing awareness of its ecological importance and the need for joint conservation measures. From early legislative acts to the establishment of national parks, international agreements, and modern preservation initiatives, Niagara Falls has been safeguarded for present and future generations to marvel at its grandeur. Through continuous conservation efforts, we can ensure the perpetual existence of this natural wonder, reminding us of the significance of preservation in our ever-changing world.

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