For all its might, Niagara Falls remains one of the world's youngest geological formations, carved by the melting of glaciers a mere 12,300 years ago. Its thunder power has fascinated humanity for the extent of documented North American history, from the Native Americans who lived in the region to the French priest Louis Hennepin, the first European to behold the cascade. That power also drew early captains of industry, who sought to harness the ferocious rush of liquid with water wheels, an idea so common it threatened to ruin the area's natural beauty. In 1885, some of the earliest ecological crusaders changed history—successfully pressuring the state government into designating the Falls and its surrounding lands as one of the United State's oldest State Parks.
Today, the Park serves as a popular destination for tourists in search of natural wonder, wedding parties and honeymooners seeking an unforgettable backdrop, and coopers seeking to market their barrels as recreational vehicles.