Nomination Period for River Heroes Now Open
2015 Ralph White River Hero Award
Excitement is building for the newly renamed Ralph White River Hero Award, sponsored by the Friends of the James River Park.
Do you know a person, company or organization that you think should be recognized for their work to preserve or promote the JRPS? Now is the time to nominate that individual or organization for this prestigious award.
Nominations for this year's awards will be accepted between January 24 and March 2, 2015. And plan to join us at VCU Rice Center on April 30, 2015 for the award presentation!
James River Park System By the Numbers
Visitors to the park
This past spring, Friends partnered with The James River Outdoor Coalition (JROC) to fund the purchase of Park Counters to tally the number of park visitors. These were placed at the main entrances into the JRPS. The results support projections provided by a VCU student surveys in 2012. This survey predicted anywhere from 500,000 --1.5 million visitors per year. With the instillation of the park counters we now know that JRPS has had over 795,117 visitors from May 2014 until the end of October 2014.
James River Park System is clearly the top dog when it comes to attendance. By May 2015 the annual visitor count is expected to be closer to the 1.5 million visitor prediction made in 2012. Interestingly, JRPS wasn't considered in the 2013 "20 Top Destinations" list published by the Richmond Times Dispatch on February 21, 2014. Using information provided by the Richmond Region Tourism office, their list has Maymont at the top with 527,153 visitors.
Who cares? Anyone who lives, works, or plays in the City of Richmond! The James River Park System provides a huge economic benefit to the City. Using the $16 per day per user estimate for park economic impact numbers from the 2014 edition of the Virginia Outdoors Plans. JRPS right now, provides a $12,721,872 economic impact directly to the City and local businesses. This is before you buy your bike, running shoes or paddling gear!
Volunteers are important too!
Can we place a dollar value on our volunteers? Volunteering is about helping other individuals and the community. Volunteering means working with others to make a meaningful contribution. And the how and why people volunteer is as individual as the people are themselves.
Volunteers play a vital role in the life of the JRPS. Clean-ups, graffiti removal, invasive species removal and native replanting, trail improvements, fundraising, event planning, promoting, board membership: these are all tasks performed by park volunteers. The impact of their service is evident throughout the park.
As a way to acknowledge the contributions of our volunteers, we assigned a dollar figure to the 7,177 hours given to the park in 2014. Although there are a number of ways to calculate an hourly rate, we used the Federal Government's recommended figure of $22/hour and came up with a total man-hour value of $157,894. While this total is surprisingly high, it is in the nature of volunteering where we truly find its worth. The virtue in volunteering is much deeper, much more fulfilling and much more important in contributing to a healthy and vibrant community than money can ever measure. Volunteerism is priceless!
We offer a special thanks to all of you who gave your time to benefit the park in 2014.
Vauxhall Island Bid Won by Enrichmond Foundation
The Enrichmond Foundation, representing a number of environmental groups, secured the purchase of Vauxhall Island in a sealed-bid auction which closed 12/11/14. "We will be discussing our hopes for Vauxhall once the purchase process is completed," stated John Sydnor, Executive Director of Enrichmond Foundation, which serves Richmond's people, parks and public spaces. Likewise, the names of the groups funding the purchase will not be published until the final paperwork is done.
The 2.82-acre undeveloped island lies upstream of the Mayo Bridge and is adjacent to the great blue heron rookery. This purchase is a welcome outcome for this unique property.
- Read more at the Richmond Times Dispatch.
Choose Your Adventure: Riverside Meadows
About a half-mile west of Pony Pasture on Riverside Drive is a 2-acre grassy parcel known as Riverside Meadow Greenspace. It's a small but active part of the JRPS. Groups like Riverside Outfitters and True Timber Tree Service launch rafts and climb trees here. The Richmond Fire Department practices river rescues from this meadow. Patient wildlife watchers can see bald eagles, otters, osprey and great blue herons.The Z-Dam connects the meadow to Williams Island across the river and kayakers often surf the powerful notch in the dam.
It's also common for people to set up chairs, blankets and even grills, then settle in for the day. The area is well-attended by walkers, joggers, bikers, bird-watchers, fishermen and paddlers. The view of the James River and Pony Pasture Rapids from the meadow is unmatched. This is a walk or bike-in spot only. No parking, but nice fishing, wading, and, with Riverside Outfitters, recreational tree climbing.
See all in the Choose Your Adventure series.
Events in and around and for the Park
"Waterways" | through February 2
An exhibit of James River landscapes featuring original oil paintings by Amy H. R. Donahue. For Art's Sake Gallery, Gayton Road Shopping Center, 9770 Gayton Rd., M-F 10 a.m.-6 p.m., Sat. 10 a.m.-3 p.m. For more information call the gallery at 804-740-1400 or visit forartssakegallery.com.
Cancelled Due to Inclement Weather -- FOJRP Volunteer Day | Saturday January 24
We will have to tackle trash in the Manchester Climbing Wall area another time.
Shiver in the River | January 31
Keep Virginia Beautiful presents the first Shiver in the River, a combination clean-up, river swim, and winter festival to raise funds for a great cause. Historic Tredegar, 500 Tredegar St. beginning at noon. Registration is required for the Community Clean-Up and/or the James River Jump. Participants must be 13 years or older. Parental waiver for minors required (under 17). For more information or to register, visit ShiverintheRiver.com or email@example.com.
RVA Environmental Film Festival | February 2-8
Local organizations partner to present the Fourth Annual RVA Environmental Film Fest at Tuckahoe Library, VCU's Grace Street Theater, the Visual Arts Center, and the Byrd Theatre. The festival will showcase local and national films selected to raise awareness of environmental issues relevant to our region, our nation, and our planet. This event is free and open to the public. For more info go to: rvaenvironmentalfilmfestival.com or contact: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Conservation Easement Inspection help requested for February
In February of each year the FoJRP volunteers are required to walk through the areas of the park protected by the conservation easement. This is to ensure there has been no encroachment into the protected areas and is required to keep the easement enforced. It also provides a great excuse to enjoy a quiet afternoon in one of our favorite places. We are looking for volunteers to help. If you are interested in turning a nice walk into a meaningful activity that helps to protect the park contact: email@example.com.
Banff Mountain Film Festival World Tour | March 6 and 7 (ticket sales begin 1/5/15)
Experience adventure on the big screen! The Banff Mountain Film Festival World Tour will exhilarate and inspire you as you journey to exotic locations, paddle the wildest waters, and climb the highest peaks. Different films each night. Adults $7 (both nights $12), 18 years and under $4 (both nights $7), ages 4 and under free. James River High School, 3700 James River Rd., 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. each night. For more information go to chesterfield.gov/ProgramGuide/ or contact firstname.lastname@example.org. For tickets call 804-748-1623.
Venomous Snakes | permanent exhibit
This new permanent exhibit at Maymont features the three venomous snake species -- the northern copperhead, eastern cottonmouth and timber rattlesnake -- native to Virginia. Robins Nature and Visitor Center, 2201 Shields Lake Dr., Tuesdays-Sundays. Cost is included with Nature Center admission.
Virginia Rocks: Geologic Selections from the Collection | through June
This exhibition in the Lora Robins Gallery of Design from Nature highlights the varied geological areas of the state and the processes that shaped the land. Focus is placed on the history and future use of Virginia's mineral and energy resources and how these resources impact the economy and environment. University of Richmond Museums, 28 Westhampton Way, Sunday through Friday, 1 to 5 p.m., closed Saturdays. Contact 808-289-8276 or museums.richmond.edu.
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.
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.