The FOJRP Protection and Preservation Fund close to target
The Friends are VERY CLOSE to hitting our initial target of $100,000 for our Protection and Preservation Fund, which is distinct from our general or operating fund. As of mid-June 2016, the fund stands at $98,677.57.
Long-ago board members had been concerned about having some long-term money available for emergencies and major projects. When the conservation easements were put in place on part of the park system, Molly Dellinger-Wray and others launched this P & P fund, which could contribute to legal fees if those ever were to prove necessary. There are other uses for this money, however.
Please consider contributing to preserve urban wilderness, protect parklands, expand park boundaries, respond to catastrophic events, and enhance educational opportunities.
River Heroes celebrated
The 2016 River Heroes have been announced! Winners are Molly Dellinger-Wray, Tricia Pearsall and Sally Wetzler.
Each year, the Friends of the James River Park acknowledge and honor individuals and organizations that have made significant contributions to James River Park.
The award is now called the Ralph White River Hero Award in honor of former Park Manager Ralph White — one of the 2014 River Hero Award recipients.
The award ceremony took place on Tuesday, May 10, on the 15th floor of the Troutman Sanders Building, overlooking the James River.
Nathan Burrell wins Steward of the River Award
Park manager Burrell was among the four individuals and one non-profit organization recognized, each with a separately titled award, on April 29 for "measurable, positive impacts on the James River and surrounding communities." The description of why Nathan merits this Guardian Award notes that he "commits his professional and personal time to enhancing Richmond's crown jewel, James River Park. He knows a healthy river is essential to providing outdoor recreation opportunities for all."
JRAC, the James River Advisory Council, sponsors both the annual all-river clean-up in September and the Parade of Lights in December.
Tackling invasive plants in the JRPS
Friends has taken the lead by sponsoring the development of the James River Park System Invasive Species Management Plan. Phase one is to survey and record the type and location of invasive plant species to determine the relative abundance of these plants throughout the park. Phase two is to remove the invasives. The Friends are primarily responsible for the Reedy Creek/Main Area of the park.
Learn more about the plan, the JRPS Invasive Plant Task Force and how you can help on the new task force website.
Audio Tours Feature Ralph White
Science in the Park audio tours
Explore the secrets of the James River Parks' unique geology with new smart phone audio tours. Former James River Park Manager Emeritus Ralph White narrates these guided tours, which were produced by Anne Wright for Science In The Park and developed by sound artist Vaughn Whitney Garland. Follow along on your mobile device, guided by live mapping. Read the Times Dispatch article about the tours, and check them out yourself:
More audio tours now available!
Three more tours are now available to park lovers. You’ll hear about what you are seeing, how it got there, and some of the reasons why the JRPS is special and worth preserving!
- The Ecology of the River and Shoreline: A Sound History for the Trails of The Pony Pasture
- Indians To Industry: A Sound History For Belle Isle
- A Sound History For The Manchester Flood Wall
The above three tours were written and narrated by Ralph White and produced and developed by Vaughn Whitney Garland with financial support from The Friends of the James River Park.
Listen to any of the tours listed above at righthereonce.org
Belle Isle Bike Skills Park
Unless you head straight for the rocks and never venture in the other direction, you may have missed the major new construction at the bike skills area of Belle Isle. $84,000-worth of improvements have created a site that will improve the skills of any cyclist, from beginner to seasoned trails rider.
- Read more at WTVR: Belle Isle's new bike skills course designed to challenge kids and adults
Award for the Design of 21st Street Entrance
The Better Housing Coalition gave a 2016 Golden Hammer and People's Choice winner award for "Best Placemaking Project" to the environmentally sustainable entrance to the JRPS between 21st and 22nd Streets. The award was announced in May at TransformRVA: A Day of Celebration, Education & Transformation.
If you haven't seen this, it's very much worth a visit. And keep your ears open for a possible renovation of the Texas Beach/North Bank parking lot area.
- To see all winners, visit the Better Housing Coalition website.
Conservation Easement Signage
Since 2008, several parcels of the James River Park System have been covered by conservation easements, legal agreements that permanently limit any development on those parcels. Recently, signs have been installed in those areas to alert visitors that they are entering protected places.
- To read more about what easements are, go to the James River Park System Conservation Easement mini-site.
Riverfront Plan update
A number of organizations have signed off on a letter to the city of Richmond to urge that additional funds be included in the next budget to implement parts of the riverfront plan, including the completion of the southern end access to the T. Tyler Potterfield Memorial Bridge, as well as components of the plan around the Intermediate Terminal.
Manchester Climbing Wall temporary closing update
The stair access from the base to the top of the Manchester Climbing wall will be closed starting early November 2015 due to construction. Access to the climbing walls will remain open but only from the bottom of the wall and eastern side for access. Fencing will be put up to at the top of the stairs to block access.
FOJRP and JROC Volunteer Events suspended
The Friends' volunteer events, as well as those of JROC, are suspended during the summer when the park staff is the busiest. If you have a hankering to volunteer, please see these opportunities below.
RVA Clean Sweep | Multiple days and times
This meet-up group is devoted to cleaning throughout the city in an effort to improve the quality of the James River and Chesapeake Bay watersheds. Please go to meetup.com/RVA-Clean-Sweep for an opportunity that suits you.
Keep Virginia Cozy
A relative newcomer to the volunteer groups,Keep Virginia Cozy is according to their mission, focused on providing quality volunteer service for the beautification of our lovely state. For opportunities that take you to different parks in the state, visit keepvirginiacozy.com.
JRAC's James River Days brochure available
If you saw us at our booth on Earth Day or at Dominion Riverrock, you might have picked up a copy of the James River Advisory Council's annual brochure, "James River Days." This is an invaluable resource for activities on and around the river from April through October. Check it out! (PDF)
Have you seen the mobile-friendly James River Park calendar?
The events below are pulled from the global calendar. Many JRPS-friendly organizations are posting their events to this calendar. Check it out!
JRPS license plates, matching gifts and AmazonSmile -- money for the park
James River Park license plates have now generated over $7,000 for the park! To order yours, check out the DMV Specialty License Plate section!
If you're making a donation to the FOJRP, consider asking your employer to match your gift. Many local businesses are happy to support Richmond's wonderful park system. All gifts and bequests are tax deductible to the full extent permitted by law, and donors will receive a letter acknowledging their contributions; contributors to the Protection and Preservation Fund are also acknowledged on the FOJRP website.
FOJRP registered with AmazonSmile
AmazonSmile is a simple and automatic way for you to support FOJRP. When you shop at smile.amazon.com, you'll find the exact same shopping experience you get on Amazon.com, with the added bonus that Amazon will donate .5% of eligible purchases to an organization you select.
Simply go to smile.amazon.com, and on your first visit you will be prompted to select a charity. Select Friends of the James River Park, then shop!
Watch it! Check out these Science in the Park videos.
T-shirts and pamphlets for sale!
Our snazzy t-shirts and FOJRP interpretive pamphlets are available to purchase online. Order yours today!
Keep the park safe
If you see something out of the ordinary in the James River Park, please report it using the non-emergency police number:
Reportable things include problems in the park system (of natural or human origin) -- graffiti, large amounts of trash, trees down across main trails, fires of any sort, unruly behavior, etc.
If it is an emergency situation, please dial 911.
Message from the Richmond Police Department on Summer Safety in the JRPS
Do you Bicycle in the Park?
Did you know that pedestrians have the right of way on ALL trails in the Park, except those marked Bicycles Only? Please be courteous when passing walkers; if you have a bell, use it or call out, "on your left" or "on your right". It's common courtesy and will prevent those enjoying the Park from being forced off the trails. This is also critical behavior for Park Visitors tending their kids or their dogs.
Stay on the Trails Please!
With so many bikers, joggers, hikers and dog walkers in the park, the trails get a lot of use. Winter freeze and spring rains make them vulnerable to erosion and long-term damage. When there are puddles on your route it can be tempting to go around them. Realize that, by widening the path, you are adding to trail erosion and destruction of vegetation ... creating problems.
The trails are maintained by park staff and volunteers who work to balance the needs of the people who enjoy outdoor recreation and the need to maintain healthy ecosystems. Become aware how your use impacts the park and TREAD LIGHTLY!
Protection and Preservation Fund
A special thank you to all who donate to our long-term fund. See our growing list.
Canine Friends of the Park
Probably some of the biggest fans of the park system are the dogs that walk the trails -- and they would want to keep the park clean too!
Read why it's important to pick up the poop and don't pollute! Catch up on other Canine news as well.